Barney and Fred in conversation about Change

The following is a s snatch of a dialogue about change. There’s an intriguing take on change and “un-change” here. The decision NOT to change is, in itself,an intervention. It requires as much consideration as a decision to change something. It requires a positive step. Not doing something is a positive decision NOT to!

Also, the danger of change is that we become blind to the option of “not” changing. When we become too clever and fixed on something, there’s the risk of creating blind spots that we’d do well to see…

Barney and Fred have a chat about change and answer a few questions before posing a few others… I wrote this a few years ago to capture a short dialogue I was engaged in with a colleague about the essence of change.


I’ve written it up as a short script.

Barney: You have time for philosophy here?

Fred: A “lived” philosophy? You know I don’t go in for hot air.

Barney: Of course, a lived philosophy –  a thing I delight in. When SOMETHING happens…

Fred: Something BIG?

Barney: It is a signal to CHANGE.

Fred: Doesn’t really matter what you change.

Barney: Just CHANGE.

Fred: If you decide to NOT CHANGE.

Barney: To STAY THE SAME – it is important that the decision to STAY  is of the same quality as the decision to CHANGE. Listen. There once was a man he asked a question.

“What will you have me to do for you?”

Some asked for health others for peace.

But the question was the important thing.

Fred: My philosophy is this – what can I do for you?

Barney: Does that sound as pompous to you as me?

Fred: Not at all.

Barney: A man went to a Buddhist monastery,  to seek enlightenment. For 6 months, he kneeled until his knees bled – then healed.   16 hours per day of meditation then, finally, He was in a kitchen one day, he spoke to his teacher, the one with the light in his eyes, who was making a stir-fry in a big wok. “Master” he said, breaking his silence of several months, “How will I know when I have achieved enlightenment?” The teacher, in an instant, suddenly turned around and smashed the man unconscious with the wok.

Fred: End of story.

Barney: The problem is this: WHEN YOU HAVE SEEN MUCH OF THE PAIN OF THE WORLD, then you are naive in seeing that part of the world that has not seen the pain of the world.

Fred: And actually, this part of the world is a HUGE part of the world, don’t you think?

Barney: You think me naive then?

Fred: No!

Barney: I think ME naive! I have seen much, experienced muc,  BUT that means I have become a habitual MUCH seer.

Fred: Sheesh!

Barney: Now that means I have become NAIVE when it comes to seeing the world from the viewpoint of naiveté.

Fred: You are naive at naiveté. You poor bastard!

Barney: Yet the innocence of naiveté is that it sees the world anew –  this is the Grail, the key to healing and happiness.

Fred: The problem of having a life path of wanting to help others to BELONG is that you have no time to be naive.

Barney: This is the facilitators’, the healer’s, the teachers’ problem, or  grand challenge.

Fred: what do we lose by this naiveté?

Barney: You lose NOTHING –  it is a rich thing.

Fred: I see my past as a salve for others – it makes the cost of it seem worthwhile.

Barney: And I see others’ futures as a salve for humanity

(As ever, Barney HAD to have the last word!)

Based on a real conversation

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