It seems that every once in a while an innovation comes around that is so revolutionary that stirs public outcry by those who think the innovation will jeopardize their way of life.

The most recent example are mobile-oriented technologies such as Twitter and location based services, of which critics have registered their complaints about privacy and the deterioration of the English language. Another topical example is gay marriage – which is a particularly bold innovation that has had critics outraged for years.

This resistance to change is nothing new. In fact – humans seem almost genetically predisposed to find comfort in tradition and feel threatened by change.

When cars began to gain popularity in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, critics cried out against mass production of the new horse-less carriages claiming, correctly, that they were much more dangerous than their horsed predecessors.

Going back even further, when Gutenberg invented his printing press allowing for mass distribution of books critics again rose up to challenge the innovation claiming, again – correctly, that the mass availability of books would lead to a decrease in memorization and ultimately a loss of wisdom.

Throughout history you’d be hard pressed to find a major innovation that was not ardently criticized. However, I think it’s best to listen to the advice of Walter Breuning – who until his death last month at age 114 was the worlds oldest man. “Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face.”

Resistance to Change
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