Civilization is in many ways the story of mans greatest triumphs and his most shameful defeats. It is an oscillating tale of trials and tribulations, one which swings with alarming regularity from victory to vanity to vanquishment to humility and back around again. Whether these cycles are necessary is the topic of another post, but the fact is that we have them and must do our very best to moderate them as we endeavor to move onward and upward in the spirit of the law of eternal progress.
Change is the one constant in life. You can accept this fact in one of two ways. You can either succumb to it and take on the identity, attitudes and approaches of one who is a victim of change or you can recognize that it is entirely within your power to be an agent of change.
Assuming the identity of a victim has its obvious disadvantages, but seeing oneself as an agent of change does not come without a cost. For starters, any agent of change runs the risk of being consumed in the process of initiating a change. Most changes, no matter where they occur, tend to be met with resistance initially. The inertia of the status quo can be formidable. That resistance tends to be targeted at the most obvious proponent of the change, and change agents must constantly refresh their commitment to the core spirit of the change in order to avoid being worn down by that resistance.
Moreover, agents of change must take care not to miss the tipping point, that is, the point at which the change begins to occur. A shift in identity must begin to unfold at this stage or the agent of change will find himself to be increasingly irrelevant to the shifting pattern. Rebels cannot be rebels when they become the new leaders.