In part 1 I started by trying to outline what might be meant by change. One way of doing this is to think about scale of change, distinguishing between personal, communal/organisational and societal/global. I want to go back to this, but before I do, I want to think a little more about the nature of change itself. At its simplest level, change might be characterised as simply difference, i.e. a change in something, be it the time of day, the appearance of a plant or someone’s point of view. In all these examples there is an implicit idea of change that it relates to time, i.e. change happens over time. Time is the continuing focus for an ongoing philosophical debate, and I may return to it in the future at some point, but for now, I am going to accept that change requires time. If we link scale (briefly considered in part 1) with time, then we can begin to think about differences and links between change at different scales and over different periods in time. This then leads to the possibility of giving examples of change in these different spatial-temporal dimensions. Hence, the following table gives examples in a simple matrix. Because of my interest in education, some of the examples focus on this context.
This table focuses predominantly on human systems but would work equally well for natural and physical systems. In fact, these various systems will tangle within each other, leading to networks of change which work across both spatial and temporal scale and across human, natural and physical systems. The table above is an oversimplification to make the point that change operates at all scales and over all time periods in different ways.
In a recent online conversation I had with someone I reflected on the idea that ‘everything is process’, which is a process philosophical perspective concerning the lack of substance at a metaphysical level. This was challenged, quite rightly, and in the subsequent conversation I reflected that even if everything isn’t process, everything is in process. And if everything is in process, if Heraclitus is right, and the universe is a universe of flow, then change is ubiquitous and occurs in networks across these spatial and temporal ranges, and between systems.
This then suggest that change is ubiquitous and that all things at all scales (temporal and spatial) are the consequence of, or are impacted by, continuously emergent, entangled processes, creating a universal reality of flow.