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Coping with Change

...people are feeling deeply anxious about something. It’s the story of our time: the pace of change in technology, globalization and climate have started to outrun the ability of our political systems to build the social, educational, community, workplace and political innovations needed for some citizens to keep up.

We have globalized trade and manufacturing, and we have introduced robots and artificial intelligence systems, far faster than we have designed the social safety nets, trade surge protectors and educational advancement options that would allow people caught in this transition to have the time, space and tools to thrive. It’s left a lot of people dizzy and dislocated. ...

And these rapid changes are taking place when our politics has never been more gridlocked and unable to respond with just common sense — like governments borrowing money at near zero interest to invest in much-needed infrastructure that creates jobs and enables us to better exploit these technologies.

- Thomas Friedman, You Break It, You Own It, NYT, June 29, 2016


There is a portion of the population that feels threatened by unrelenting change....
- Charles M. Blow, Trump Reflects White Male Fragility, NYT, Aug. 4, 2016

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An optimistic view of change:

To the Editor:

Let’s face the facts — no one likes change, even if our lives are not good, but change was necessary. Our government was at a stalemate, totally dysfunctional. We needed a major revamping.

But who could possibly do it? We needed someone brave, honest, independent, wealthy, thick-skinned, successful and brash enough to fight the total entrenchment of establishments strangling our American dream. Someone who was comfortable in front of the media. We got what we wished. Donald Trump is not perfect, but he is perfect for change.

We are now on a path into the unknown — an adventure that the American spirit has always embraced. We lost that spirit for a while, but Mr. Trump reminded us how we can regain it. Mr. Trump has proved himself in business but, more important, he has proved himself in politics in an unconventional but brilliant campaign. He defied all odds.

How can we doubt that he will succeed in his next phase — making America great again?

- Charles Slane, New York, Letter to the Editor



Jose Valera recently lamented the speed of change:

“Change has always been happening, but in the last few years, it seems to have happened so fast.”
(He was lamenting in particular the rate of gentrification of his East Austin neighborhood.)

- Joe Gose, ‘Coolness Factor’ Draws Developers to East Austin, Tex., NYT, Feb. 14, 2017



Whatever the social norms, there are questions about the wisdom of tinkering with basic biological processes. And there is general agreement that reproductive technology is progressing faster than consideration of the legal and ethical questions it raises.

“We have come to realize that scientific developments are outpacing our ability to think them through,” Dr. Adashi said. “It’s a challenge for which we are not fully prepared. It would be good to be having the conversation before we are actually confronting the challenges.”
- TAMAR LEWIN, Babies From Skin Cells? Prospect Is Unsettling to Some Experts, NYT, MAY 16, 2017


Psychologists have long understood that in disaster scenarios most people behave strangely, going through normal routines in abnormal situations.... The conclusion they draw is that in stressful or shocking situations, the human mind finds it difficult to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances. It is comforting to assume this behavior is limited to disaster scenarios, but... disasters might offer more general insights into how human minds ignore evidence that runs counter to cherished beliefs.
- Douglas Bulloch, China's Debt Bomb Just Keeps Getting Bigger, Forbes, DEC 15, 2017


Paetyn, an impish 1-year-old, has two fathers. One of them gave birth to her.

As traditional notions of gender shift and blur, parents and children like these are redefining the concept of family.

Paetyn’s father Tanner, 25, is a trans man: He was born female but began transitioning to male in his teens, and takes the male hormone testosterone.

“I was born a man in a female body,” he said. ...
Trans men have conceived on purpose, but Tanner isn’t one of them. In his case, it happened by accident after he missed a few doses of testosterone.... ...
Starting in his teens, Tanner’s transition from female to male had been a series of steps over a number of years. As a child, he was a tomboy.... ...
He began struggling with anxiety and depression connected to “gender dysphoria,” the sense that his body and outward gender did not match his identity. ...
On the birth certificate, he is identified as Paetyn’s mother, something that he and David hope eventually to have changed so that they are both listed as fathers.

Tanner could not bear to nurse Paetyn: Breasts epitomized the gender he had abandoned. A few months later, he underwent “top surgery” to have them removed.
After Paetyn’s birth, he went back on testosterone. ...
“It helps chill me out. I still have anxiety and depression, but not as much.” ...
“I hope she’s straight,” Tanner said. “It’s hard, to struggle with coming out, not feeling safe. Anyone in this community, they’re always walking around looking over their shoulder. There are people who will hurt you just because you’re gay or trans. It’s scary. If you’re straight and white in this society you’re kind of better off.
- Denise Grady, A Family in Transition: Two fathers and the baby girl they never expected., NYT, June 16, 2018


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