Searching deep within ourselves

Bird Droppings October 5, 2010
Searching deep within ourselves

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

I am very much a creature of routine of habit and when my daily path is altered I have occasion to be amiss. My day was started early as always but I had to run my gas payment over to a neighboring town so I left a bit earlier than normal. It was an uneventful drive other than the several pairs of eyes gazing at me as I pulled into a stop sign. Six deer were standing just inside the tree line waiting to jump in front of cars as they tend to do. As I pulled into the parking lot at school a sliver of moon was smiling over my head. Something about the moon is mystical and has inspired peoples fro many eons. I am always drawn to watching the moon in the wee hours of the morning.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming

Blunt and to the point W. Edwards Deming revolutionized industrial thinking and began the quality movement and in almost single handedly assisted in rebuilding Japanese industry as well as increasing production in the United States after World War II.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl

It is the job of philosophers and thinkers to keep us on our toes about the human condition. But in coming back to change we may not be able to change the conditions but we can change ourselves as Frankl states. Perhaps a better word is adapting to the conditions and modifies how we interpret and or perceive things.

“The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.” Henry Miller

Observing and participating in the educational system I see this attitude daily with teachers who have done this particular way for tens of thousands of years and will keep doing that way for ten thousand more. Functioning and attitudes are very much in line with Millers man who would literally cut off his own limbs for artificial ones to avoid pain and additional work.

“There is a certain relief in change, even though it is from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.” Washington Irving

Rather than take another form of transportation and or for other reasons time, comfort, or speed we as humans seem to put up with simply being bruised on the other cheek, I like that analogy.

“When you are through changing, you are through.” Bruce Barton

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” John Kenneth Galbrait

I am as guilty as any one on this point yet often I can proof my point, often more so I am the one initiating the change or creating the dissidence that pushes for altering how we do something.

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.” Ellen Glasgow

I have worked with two instructors in a course now several times each time it is new alive, viable and different. I can see the wrapping is the same the name but it changes with each the group. Each time pieces will be exactly like the last yet subtly different. I have found no two groups in teaching are the same so how can we teach the same material the same way every time. Yet this is what text book makers, politicians, school systems, school boards and parents seem to want.

“Life is its own journey, presupposes its own change and movement, and one tries to arrest them at one’s eternal peril.” Laurens van der Post

Laurens Van der Post writes about the last Bushmen painter in his notes. He remembers the day that the last painter died during his childhood. There was a series of caves and rocks on the edge of the Kalahari that each time he visited during his childhood new paintings of animals, birds and of nature would be appearing on the rock face. It was also during this time the South African Government much like our own had chosen the path of genocide for a people, that being the Bushmen. Van der post writes about hearing as a child the gun shots and upon a visit to the rocks and caves seeing the paintings that were now a series of red slashes and warriors dying and then no more paintings. The last painter had recorded the beginning of the end and there was not another to take his place.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” John Henry Newman

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” William Blake

As I look at the statements perhaps growth would have been looking at the Bushmen and seeing their views rather than destroying them. So many pathways in history have been of destruction rather than change rather than seeing a different view.

“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them.” Marcel Proust

“We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.” Lynn Hall

I seriously wondered as I read and thought about this quote. Maybe we do not change but come to grips with and except who we are about rather than trying to be the image of what we think others want us to be.

“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” Mignon McLaughlin

As I sit and ponder how true this each event in is our life has led us here to this moment and place.

“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Ellen Glasgow

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” Woodrow Wilson

I have a dear friend who constantly reminds me of this all movement is not forward and to that effect once made an open ended rubric. Literally no parameters in any direction more of a shading as one event evolved into the next.

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” Pauline R. Kezer

I really do like this illustration we find our grounding and our roots in the continuity of life but it is that new look, that change that grows us and lifts us up.

“If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” Saint Augustine

A profound statement from St. Augustine and not to belittle who and what you are but to always be trying to be more than that is what we should be doing. Far too many people are content and stagnate repeating William Blake’s quote.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” Author Unknown

I generally like to attribute to someone but this wording caught my attention a spin on Rhinehold Niebuhr’s words.

“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thoreau

A general and a philosopher offer similar ideas it is up to us

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.” Francis Bacon

It is inevitable that change will occur be it evolution, migration, alteration, dissemination, ramification, ossification, delineation, degradation and even in our own country segregation change is evident always and certain. How we adapt and survive this is the crucial point.

“Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Describing Schopenhauer many writers see his works as unlike many of his time easier to read and making sense. One of the first European philosophers to look at and utilize eastern thought he wrote often about the differences and likenesses of philosophies. As I read this line life is much like a loan shark we borrow pieces only to have to eventually pay back with interest often at a high rate. Sitting here this morning I wonder when our interest will be due for our current situations. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

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