There's no end in sight when we're going round and round inside a pattern. It's easy to predict what happens next because it's part of the endless cycle. We've seen it all before. It appears that things are changing but there's no difference in how they are changing or what they are changing into. This is what's called first order change. It's a pattern of oscillation that results from delayed feedback. It takes awhile to discover the problems with the latest solution. When the problems get realized, it launches a flip-flop into the opposite solution which eventually reveal the problems with it.
Here are some examples of classic merry-go-round rides:
- A young artist (musician, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, choreographer, poet, playwright, etc) launches off into a new, inspired direction of self-expression which then seems too exuberant and lacking in discipline which then inspires some deliberate practice for honing techniques and acquiring more discipline which then seems depressing and unimaginative which then launches off into a new inspired direction of self-expression -- ad infinitum
- A project team benefits from lots of individual talent capable of impressive initiative and solo efforts that results in a lack of coordination and inter-communication that results in team building to increase collaborative efforts and reliance on team members that results in a loss of initiative and personalized contributions that results in encouraging lots of individual talent -- ad infinitum
- The new season brings a breakout hit (stage production, film, TV show, best selling book, computer game, etc.) that attracts a large audience which results in sequels, copy cat versions and derivative knock offs that kills off the large audience in constant search of fresh, new entertainment which brings along a new season with a breakout hit -- ad infinitum
- The citizens in a democracy elect a new government that enhances social programs, public infrastructure and regulatory protections of consumer rights which results in massive debt, bigger taxes and governmental interference in the free market which results in the citizens electing a new government with promotes fiscal accountability, cuts back on government spending and de-regulates the market functions, which results in a diminishing middle class accompanied by soaring inflation and unemployment, which results in electing a new government that enhances social programs -- ad infinitum
Getting off any merry-go-round takes "non-dual awareness". The exit is paradoxical. It becomes apparent how to "have it both ways" without sacrificing the advantages of either. This winning combination cannot be found at the same level as the "dual awareness" of obvious dichotomies, opposite extremes and polarized alternatives.
When the two poles of the oscillation come to together, a second order change results. There's a change in how the change comes about and what happens next. It's a game changer that disrupts the incumbent pattern of endlessly going round and round. The trouble with either solution is no longer regarded as an isolated problem. The solutions look like the real problems because they disregard the systemic nature of the merry-go-round. When the two sides come together, the question of finally getting it right becomes a question of balance continually.
There's no recipe to follow to come up with a winning combination like this. The change defies predictions and leaves options open "like never before". It's anybody's guess what happens next because the dynamics are complex, self organizing and far from a state of equilibrium.