Saturday, November 17, 2012

Change: the only constant.

Nothing endures but change.  Heraclitus

I was thinking about this much talked and written about concept of the constancy of change while driving to work yesterday morning.  It's no less than a fifty minute drive with little traffic.  What triggers the mind to bring particular  ideas to the consciousness remains a mystery to me.  Perhaps it's the music or dialog emitting from the radio.  Maybe it's a product of the stream of consciousness that happens all the time when a person has prolonged periods of monotony such as a long drive.  Today, more than twenty-four hours since that first embryo of an idea took form, I'm trying to recapture and unravel all those thoughts.  It's like picking through a can of wriggling worms.  Each idea slipping away before I can get a good grip on it.  So I guess I'll just start and see if anything coherent morphs out of these random thoughts.

Change is a concept that we all acknowledge if not accept or relish.  Empirically we know that change happens but even at that we try to halt, modify, deny or accelerate change.  A comment that I hear frequently and see far too often on Facebook is: "I can't wait 'til...... (Friday, next week, or month, ad infinitum.")   It grates on me, when I see or hear that phrase, like fingernail scraped on a blackboard makes others cringe.  I think; it's Monday and you want it to be Friday because some pleasant thing is anticipated.  Yet fate has a fatal car crash scheduled for your Wednesday.  I usually remain silent while wanting to scream; enjoy today, the moment.  Friday will come soon enough.  Make the most of now! 

That's not exactly where I wanted to go with this so let's let that squiggly worm go for the time being.  Let's  talk about the irony of this concept of change.  OK, I'll write, you read.  Comments entertained at the end.
Quickly now; we are born and change daily, make that hourly, no by the minute.  If you are a grandparent who observes this phenomena intermittently, say every few weeks, you know what I mean. The accelerated growth between day 1 to 3 months of age is astonishing in all dynamics: weight, length, motor skills and facial expression/personality.  That rapid change is relished by all: parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and grandparents.  Soon, a few years, so it is by the child themselves.  We've all read those memes about wanting to be older so as to drink legally, drive legally etc. and then say around age thirty decry the fact that we're getting older and try to turn back the hands of time.  The changes  from age thirty on, to say 50 or 60, seem to slow enough as to be able to delude ourselves that  we aren't really any older looking.

Somewhere around age forty for men, probably earlier for women we try varying techniques to stop the clock.  We quit smoking to stop the wrinkling process and to give us more lasting energy with which to exercise   There are spa treatments, gym memberships, salves and youth engendering creams to stop or reverse the process of looking older.  We diet, run marathons, take multitudes of vitamins and nutritional support substances to help us live forever or at least to be healthy 'til we die. There is Rogain and hair dye to let us look young and virile.  And purple pills to keep us erect for four hours or longer (go to the ER?  Are you crazy? and waste this.)  Breast implants, hair plugs  tummy tucks, and face lifts;  the lengths we go to to preserve youth are innumerable.  But change is inevitable and at age 50 or 110 the heart will stop, the brain will falter and we, each in their turn, will die, decompose, decay and lose our youthful looks, figures and exuberance.

All that and no mention of the changes in the environment (global warming), or in technology.  Change is all around us in every aspect of our existence and deny it or embrace t happen it does.  The irony (if that is the correct word) is how we resist change, more and more as we grow older, in order to preserve habit.  A little caveat I've learned to embrace from observation of life's repeat-ability is that the most important mechanism to retain and maintain youth is to embrace change.  Break habits on purpose.  Do more difficult crossword puzzles when the daily ones become too easy.  Learn to play chess.  Learn to win at chess.  learn a foreign language.  Learn 7 foreign languages.  Habit makes us old.

Again I'm rambling.  Not too far from the main topic but rambling non-the-less.

The thought crossed my mind as I was driving to work and contemplating the constancy of change that somethings really don't change all that much if at all.  People still fall in love, lust, infatuation, the same way since before Adam and Eve.  Evil is ever present.  Oh, and lest we forget, those rapid changing babies are still made the same way!  The process by which the spermy impales the eggy may have been modified, but still.... you know; yeah OK 'nuff said.  Humans haven't gotten over the joy of killing each other, and civilizations keep reincarnating but never learning the lessons necessary to prolong and preserve themselves.

And so, even though change will endure, as Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, " plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"  (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

There really is Status Quo Bias.  Especially the more past age forty one becomes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mag #143

Verdun, 1917 by Felix Vallotton
Now here he was, cradled in the webbing seat of the uncomfortable cool cave of the C130’s cargo hold. Looking out at the sunny cumulus cloud filled sky watching the beautiful billowy clouds passing in close proximity to the plane’s window. Eddie was startled by a cloud formation that resembled a person of great stature sitting on a throne. He tried to decide if the cloud sculpture was Odin, or Zeus, or may be Neptune. No not Neptune He’d show up if they crashed in the ocean. No, No it couldn’t be God he thought. Well, He supposed it could be but anyway it was sure a curious apparition. As he continued to stare and conjure imaginings he suddenly heard a voice, a deep baritone voice and there was no mistaking that it was coming from the “God” on the cloud throne. The voice and the words were so clear, he had to look beside him to see if there was someone sitting beside him and talking to him. Nope, he was alone.

The voice said: Don’t come back this way again!

Eddie came home in 1965 and the war continued for another ten years. Interestingly, Eddie refused to watch any newscast or read any media concerning the war because when he did so he would be overcome with a strong to desire to go that way again.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Boy it was cold when I got up this morning. So I turned up the thermostat and the furnace came on and in a few minutes heat started coming up through the registers and pretty soon I was warm and toasty. What to do next: plug in the toast...
er and make some toast to slather with peanut butter and turn on the Keurig and brew up a steaming cup of French roast. Then I opened the back door to retrieve the newspaper; Brrr, damn its cold and damp out there.
Now that my belly is full, and my heart is warm and I am feeling fine I revive my sleeping lap top and check my emails and check in at FB to see if and what my FB friends are up to.

How was your morning?

Friends of ours have a son who is a NYS trooper and he was sent to the NY metro area to assist with their recovery. He's being housed at the State University of Stonybrook's student housing: NO HEAT, NO FOOD , NO ELECTRICITY,NO GASOLINE (have to scrounge for their own food.) FEMA not there yet. The people there are destitute, have nowhere to go. His statement to his mom; I can come home, they are home.
Donate to the Red Cross or The Salvation Army!