2009/11/12

"because" vs "in order to"

Charles Handy, in The Age Of Unreason

Continuous change is comfortable change. The past is then the guide to the future. An American friend, visiting Britain and Europe for the first time, wondered, "Why is it that over here whenever I ask the reason for anything, any institution or ceremony or set of rules, they always give me an historical answer, 'because'; whereas in my country we always want a functional answer, 'in order to'. Europeans, I suggested, look backward to the best of their history and change as little as they can; Americans look forward and want to change as much as they may.

I'll keep an eye opened to see what answers I give to myself, and what answers I hear from other people. Being an in-order-to person looks to me like a very nice goal.