After writing about everything passing away, a few thoughts on what never changes seems appropriate. It’s the old French axiom, “Plus ca change, plus le meme chose.” (Apologies to the French students. I don’t know how to get my computer to add accents.) For the non-French speaking, it means, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”
Someone once said to me, “You know, we all want things to be perfect, but we have to settle for progress.” This reminds me of housecleaning, which I hate. Once I get through dusting and sweeping and washing, I want it to stay just that way so I won’t ever have to do it again. However, dust motes and usage have other ideas. So, what was “perfect” slowly slides into chaos. What that means is I get to do it all over again. The progress part comes when I manage to keep a fairly decent house while not letting the cleaning ruin my attitude or become an obsession.
And we do get progress, but it only comes with change. With change, it seems we get a lot of repetition. My philosophy professor, Dr. Gustav Mueller, used to say (he was German-Swiss) that the Dark Ages didn’t seem so dark to the Germans. After all they were a bunch of Teutonic tribes who won their wars and got to run countries. It’s true, they didn’t have much respect for all that Greek and Roman learning, but as it happened, a lot of that was preserved by those brilliant monks in the Northwest corner of Europe so we got to rediscover it in the Renaissance.
The point is progress is not only a matter of point of view, it is also acceptance of the fact that progress comes in fits and starts. Stock market goes up–stock market goes down, repeat ad nauseam. But the market never quite goes down to where it was before. The whole thing reminds me of the guy in the Escher etching, climbing the stairs. In one way it’s as though he never gets anywhere, but he’s still forging ahead. I prefer that to sitting down and becoming a mushroom.
And while we are trudging along, it is a good idea to pay attention to all the positive things happening right now. A large dose of gratitude is a help. Think of it, it’s gloomy and raining today, but I don’t have to water!
Image courtesy of Frieda de Witte (freaky03) of stock.xchng