Viewpoints

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Lance Bolton, Ph.D., April 12, 2012

The idea that “change is the only constant” isn’t new. In fact, in 500 BC, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “Nothing endures but change.” Although this has been a truth in human history for more than 2000 years, we sometimes still struggle with change.

I wonder at times whether the rapid pace of change that characterizes our modern lives prepares us better to accept change or if it increases our aversion to it. In the time of Heraclitus, technological change came slowly and spread across civilizations in timespans measured in years, decades and even centuries.

Today, the pace of change is staggering even to those of us experiencing it. It took the iPad less than nine months to sell 14 million units. That number represents 5 percent of the U.S.A.’s population. It only took Facebook nine months to reach 100 million users worldwide. When radio was a new technology, it took 38 years to reach the same number of users. Undeniably, we live in a world of increasingly rapid change and innovation.

One of our challenges in community colleges is to remain relevant, current and effective in addressing our changing world and adapting to as well as adopting new technologies. The words of Heraclitus are perhaps more true today than ever. We must face the world and the communities we serve prepared to consider new ways of working, new ways of serving our students and new ways of receiving and delivering information.

In “Moonwalking with Einstein,” a book by Joshua Foer, the author predicts–after interviewing leading edge neuroscience experts–a day when our memories will no longer be limited by our current brain capabilities with assistance from external support devices like notes, books and computers; he sees a day when we may have information implanted by computer chips into our bodies. That might greatly ease the understanding of algebra and trigonometry for those of us challenged by those fields, but it will also undoubtedly continue to push us to develop our capacity for wisdom.

 

Lance Bolton, Ph.D.

President, Pikes Peak Community College

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