"The times they are a changing," so wrote Bob Dylan in the early '60s. The title had its meaning to the young people of the period and in the current social evolution of man. Still, it has always had a universal meaning, not a complicated philosophy. The times have always changed and will continue to do so.

The social order of man has continued ever to evolve. If one looks at that evolution in the perspective of its entirety rather than just one small segment, then we can get a true perspective on what is going on.

Man Has A Very Brutal Past.

He has brutalized the world since his very emergence, it seems. Recorded history contains examples of this brutality towards his environment and fellow man. But evolution, by its very nature, accelerates. And just as they are many examples of this brutality, there are many recent examples of a kinder, gentler man.

Today we stand on the threshold of monumental change within our society. This change is part of our evolution, from hunter-gatherers to agriculturists, from agriculturists to industrialists, and from the uninformed to the informed. This last change is perhaps the most important in our present period of evolution.

This leap forward in evolution to the informed began with the invention of the printing press and continues today. We call it the "information revolution".

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How important is information in the overall scheme of things? Very. With this information, some have brought this evolution to a gentler and kinder mankind.

But Apparently Not The Few

A good example is our attitude towards our environment. Very early in our history, maintaining good relations with our environment was generally unquestioned -- for the concept of not fouling one's nest was easy to understand.

But as man gathered together in larger groups, the concept was lost. As man-made demands increased, first on his local environment and now on the planet, it became obvious that something needed to be done. We turned it over to our government. Although the results are not totally in, governments have generally made a mess of things.

We are now beginning to understand that protecting the environment is an individual responsibility and not a group effort, especially not a government-led effort. This is not to say that government should not be involved, but their involvement should be restricted to the very few things they do well.

So What's Really Going On For Some?

Change from "bigger is better for all things" to "smaller is better for some things." Many people worldwide are beginning to vote in their everyday life to make this change to smaller is better. Examples abound; the growth of cottage industries, wide-scale recycling, alternative health care practices, alternative energy usage, population movement from the cities to the suburbs and beyond, and the fall of nationalism as the revered concept.

But with change comes conflict, and it is this conflict that is necessary to bring about the change in the first place. We should not revel in the conflict but embrace it for the change it brings and continue to vote every day with the way we live.

Perhaps, Henry Miller said it best. "Example moves the world more than doctrine."

About the Author

jenningsRobert Jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf.com with his wife Marie T Russell. He attended the University of Florida, Southern Technical Institute, and the University of Central Florida with studies in real estate, urban development, finance, architectural engineering, and elementary education. He was a member of the US Marine Corps and The US Army having commanded a field artillery battery in Germany. He worked in real estate finance, construction and development for 25 years before starting InnerSelf.com in 1996.

InnerSelf is dedicated to sharing information that allows people to make educated and insightful choices in their personal life, for the good of the commons, and for the well-being of the planet. InnerSelf Magazine is in its 30+year of publication in either print (1984-1995) or online as InnerSelf.com. Please support our work.

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