You must obey the forces you want to command

I agree with this quote of Francis Bacon, because I think it implicates the two types of change. Change is about two types of change: the change of perception and the change of reality. If you want to change reality, you’ve got to change your perception as well (and vice versa). The quote of Bacon contains a paradox. To ‘command’ something is about the independence you have. You are the person who is in control. And, in principle, you don’t have to rely on the world. To ‘obey’ means you are dependent on external factors, like reality. So Bacon’s quote contains a contradiction, because you have to be independent and at the same time you have got to be dependent as well. To be independent and to be dependent at the same time can be related to the two types of change.

A mind model or box is an example of “the forces you want to command”. The ideas you have are products of your mind. Therefore it is you who control this part of change. Your perceptions, models or ideas can be useful tools to apply in the world. But your perceptions, models or ideas are not changing every time. They are discontinuous. An example of a lack of changing perception is the case of Nokia in 1999. At that time Nokia had a strong market share. As a market leader they dominated the market. But Nokia also had a strong increase of competitors, like Apple, during the late ‘90s.[1] Instead of adapting to the telecommunication market at that time, the board of Nokia set the goal to increase market share. Probably in favor of the shareholders. Since that period Nokia did not changed reality with their mobile phones anymore. Since then, Apple did with their iPhone.[2] So Nokia failed to adapt their vision to the continuous reality. And this case shows us that Nokia did not really ‘command’ their perception.

There is a quote of an American author and professional speaker, dr. Norman Vincent Peale.[3] This quote support the perception-part of change: “Change your thoughts, and you change the world”.[4] Peale’s quotation goes one way: if you change your perception, then you can change the world. But his quote does not support the two types of change, like Nokia. You can have a good idea. But if this idea does not adapt to reality, it is possible that this idea is not useful anymore. In contrast to perception, the world is always changing.

The other words of Bacon’s quote: “you must obey the forces” can be related to the reality. The word ‘forces’ can be replaced by the word ‘reality’ or ‘world’. By this replacement the sentence will become: “you must obey the ‘reality’ you want to command”. In my opinion this sentence means that your perception or idea is dependent on the continuous changing reality. Therefore sometimes you have to adjust your perception to the reality. You have to adapt your ideas and perceptions time after time in order to make your ‘models’ useful for the reality.

An example of obeying the reality is the case of New Coke.[5] In the ‘80s Coca-Cola wanted to introduce a new product on the market, a product called New Coke. New Coke should have replaced the old formula of the original Coca-Cola. New Coke tasted sweeter than the original. But the people had a sentimental attachment for the original Coca-Cola, and largely demanded the return of the original and classical formula.  The Coca-Cola company immediately returned the original formula on the market. I think this case is an example of controlling the ‘reality’, because the Coca-Cola company already had a successful formula. They already ‘commanded’ the reality. And they did not need to change their perception at that time.

Albert Einstein quoted that “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”.[6] I think this quote is applicable on the New Coke case, because the board of Coca-Cola had a perception of changing reality. But it turned out to be an illusion, because the ‘reality’ was persistent of not changing the product at that time. Nowadays Coca-Cola has larger and different kinds of cola products. Change comes in two ways: changing perception and changing reality. The New Coke-case and the Nokia-case are both examples of one type of change, which lead them to serious consequences.

So if you want to change, you have to obey the rules of reality and you have to command your perception as well.






[4] (see miscellanea section for the quote).

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