It often begins with crazy people. They sense a deep movement, like animals feeling a coming tsunami. They howl and emote and act out. Their gibberish is like a dream. If you took the time to listen you’d find clues to the coming storm.
Then we hear from the iconoclasts. They aren’t pure in heart. God no. They love a fight and if possible they want to be the one who started it. They can’t seem to live in polite society and are always looking for cracks and pain and confrontation. They write and protest and send letters to the editor. They gather disciples and start moving off into communes.
Soon the scales begin to fall from the eyes of the masses. The top end people get on board. A few years ago they had not thought of this new thing but now they jabber away, excited, as though it was their idea. These are also the folks who figure out how to monetize the new way of thinking and being. The beneficial economic possibilities are what often bring us to a tipping point.
The lower strata of society gets sucked along in the tidal pull. They are sleepy and satisfied and really don’t want to be awakened. But neither do they have a stomach for a fight. They whine and trudge along, eyes lidded, and often adopt the new idea just so people will leave them alone and let them go back to bed.
Last of all come the fighters. Those whose job it is to make sure this movement is indeed righteous and corrective and better than the way we’ve been doing things before. Most of the time it won’t be better. But sometimes it is. If the movement can’t make it past the crucible of their reactive anger, it might not be as important to us as we thought.
And of course, long after this new truth has finally made its way in our collective consciousness, there remain vestigial appendages from the old ways, wiggling away in the darkness below, living in our reptilian brains, surfacing in our dreams and anger and fears.
One day – it is thought to take five hundred years or so – the new idea drops into the collective unconscious and finds its place in this strange record of human development we all carry with us.
And none of this works if those involved aren’t true believers, passionate and convinced that if only people would listen to reason, everything would be okay.