How do we experience change, in society and its groupings? Wilfred Bion, with his experience as an officer in the First World War, and his training as a psychoanalyst, had some ideas:
Change can take place, but society needs to defend itself from change that takes place too rapidly, the catastrophic rate of change. The new ideas have to be appropriately contained and represented so that they can become accessible to the non-geniuses who represent the vast majority of any society. They have to pass the test of what Bion called the Establishment, persons whose established rôle it is to preserve the existing status but at the same time to allow for the slow incursion of new ideas. In the church this would represent the assembly of bishops, in the army what has been called the brigadier belt, that is, those persons whose ability does not fit them to rise above this relatively high rank but whose experience and capacity for testing new ideas is relied on to protect the army from wild ideas but at the same time foster steady change.
Malcolm Pines, ‘Bion: A Group-Analytic Appreciation’, Group Analysis 20, no. 3 (September 1987): 251–62,. p. 253