Transition vs Transformation

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Paul B. Hartzog:


= when current patterns are in decline or outright collapse, but existing activity has yet to coalesce into a stable structure.

Transitions, or “post-” periods are characterized by

  • being ontologically dependent on the preceding era, in particular, its terms and definitions.
  • being “critical” in nature, since they are expressions of what is unraveling, rather than what is emerging.


= is the moment at which the system crosses a critical threshold and becomes a self-organized and self-sustaining entity.

By contrast, “pre-”periods are characterized by

1) being ontologically dependent on an as yet unrealized era to come, seeking to reveal its terms and definitions.

2) being “affirmative” in nature, since they are expressions of what can happen, rather than what currently exists.

Insofar as a “pre-” period preceeds tranformation, it is itself a “not quite there yet” landscape, but it is necessary to articulate what is in the process of becoming in order to accelerate the pace of transformation." (