Reification of Change

In reading Adrienne Rich’s poem entitled “Prospective Immigrants, Please Note” I was struck by the power of her words as they relate to change itself: change that is trans-situational. So often we are drawn to the promise of change as a thing unto itself as if reification gives us something more tangible to hold onto rather than accepting a hint of a deep underlying structure of meaning. It is intolerance for ambiguity that conspires against the promise itself; but our sense of future, possibility and optimism are defining qualities of human-beings-being-human that ignites us all.

Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.

(Adrienne Rich as cited in Westley, Patton, & Zimmerman, 2007)

Westley, F., Patton, M. Q., & Zimmerman, B. (2007). Getting to maybe : how the world is changed. Toronto: Vintage Canada.


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