In examining incrementalism as an instrument of change, we need to understand how opposing forces influence one another in the transformation process, producing new social thought patterns, practices, and systems. The pattern that is useful in helping us to visualize this process is known as dialectics. In its simplest expression, the dialectic process is one where two opposing ideas conflict, interact, and converge to result in a new understanding which in turn yields new practices. Conflict is necessary to change, and conflict in the area of ideas tends to produce new ideas simply because none of us, though we may believe deeply in the positions we hold, has full understanding of anything.
It may sound to some like I am opening the door for the denial of absolutes or truth – that I am saying we do not know truth and that we only ride the ever fluctuating public consciousness from one relativistic position to another at best, or the surrender to the manipulation of others at worst. Undoubtedly some, who do not believe in what Francis Schaeffer called “true truth,” do speak of dialectics in relativistic terms. It would seem fair to say that it is within a relativistic context that you will ordinarily see the term. Still, I believe it provides us who hold to the idea of absolute truth with a valid framework for understanding the way change occurs – to the bad or to the good. Continue reading “Incremental Dialectical Process as Progress”