Hope Springs Eternal

I have quoted the poet, Alexander Pope, a lot lately, but he wrote so many good things.  He wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast; …”

As I think back about all the problems in our country now and look ahead to next year, I am reminded of that quote.  Even though I have been pegged as the eternal optimist by many, some things get me down.  When I see so many problems in the world and know that we have the knowledge and technology to solve them and still see business writers, leaders and politicians who in attempt to make the world a better place, make it worse because they don’t know the science of human behavior, it can depress one.  However, as I look to the horizon, I am reminded of David Palmer’s words that I quoted in OOPS:

“Science is like a river, flowing inexorably downstream, freshened and swollen by rivulets of data.  Our attempts to dam or divert it are too puny to prevail for long against the gathering weight; sooner or later all obstacles are swept away, and the river resumes its natural course.  We can force Galileo to recant, but we cannot force the earth to stand still, eventually the astronomer is vindicated.”

We can accelerate or slow change, but we cannot stop it.  The laws of nature prevail.

Skinner wrote in The Shame of American Education that, “A culture that is not willing to accept scientific advances made in the understanding of human behavior will eventually be replaced by one that is.”

I am optimistic because I have seen an increasing number of people this year who understand how the science of behavior (behavior analysis), can lead to a more productive, happy and peaceful world and I know that number will increase in 2010.

While I am optimistic, I am impatient because it can’t happen too soon.

Resources: OOPS! 13 Management Practices that Waste Time & Money (and what to do instead). B.F. Skinner From A to Z

Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.