(Commentary) SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW: Change-R-Us, Part I

Welcome to sunlight and shadow thinking. With the new year, the new Washington Administration, and the same crucial fight against COVID, I am thinking about the phenomena of change in our lives.  Regardless of social stature, religious affiliation, zip code, race, nationality, etc., we all undergo change.

Change for us the individuals, us the community, us the society, us the world, change is inevitable.  Its experience does not always sit well with us.  Funny, since change is a key factor in long-term evolutionary success, happens to us every day at the cellular level, we live through stages of human development, and change structures progress and creativity.

Oh, how we balk at changes in life!  This positions the experience of change at one of those deep contradictions we know in our lives.  Change is Heraclitus’ river and Darwin’s calling card.  

It is the weather, new network TV seasons, and yes, it is the fissure where hardships and tragedies erupt. 

Here is our sunlight and shadow.

  Shadow first.  Change lies at the dramatic heart of our own mortality: the things that grief follows or where life’s hardships bear down.  Accidents, natural disasters, PANDEMICS, severe illnesses all operate in the tectonics of change. 

No wonder change is hard to reason out or accept in our lives.  With these changes come stress, financial disorders, car repairs, broken relationships, and those bad hair days we have. 

Any sunlight here?  Of course.  

Life depends on change and growth.  We only need to see those two those grounded in the natural cycles of life, and we then see ourselves as part of a larger schema.  

Change brings new knowledge, new people into our lives, better relationships and better technologies, and your own enrichment success through education. 

So, two choices:  jump aboard or disregard a fundamental human experience.  Thank you, yes, you are right, it IS more complicated than that, at least in its working mechanisms in a 21st century world.  In fact, change is one of the toughies of life.

Our world is insatiable for wealth, progress, being better than the Jones, consuming that which appears vital to our happiness.  What are those but deep cores of change? 

 Here, the light is really shadow and the shadow of difficult change is maybe really sunlight.  Why philosophy can seem hard sometimes! 

Let’s look to one of our better thinkers, Dr. King.  Let’s go back to April 16, 1963.  Even the well-intentioned are telling Dr. King to slow down the changes that civil rights might bring.  

Take your time with change, that it will be better for all involved.  Here we are: racism should be wrong by any metric, yet slow down.  

By the way, 1963 or 2020?   

Dr. King simply cuts the Gordian knot of sun light and shadow and says, no, there are changes deeply worth not turning away from. 

Next time, I want to share a conversation with an old friend and political opposite about the divide in the country’s politics.  For now, just to say there are difficult changes worth pursing, TOGETHER.  

Change is always better when taken on in comradeship.

Any thoughts or questions, please contact me at smorrow@occc.edu.  Thank you.