Since time began, the world has been in a state of progress.
As time goes on, progress increases exponentially.
But there are always those who want to halt progress, who would love nothing better than to freeze time and keep just things as they are.
Here is the human conundrum: although we are a driving force of progress, we also have the hardest time moving forward. Some lead the way, and some have to be dragged forward kicking and screaming.
In some ways this is understandable. We all have different ideas of what progress means and of how far we should go. And, of course, progress means change, and change is difficult, sometimes traumatic.
But those who try to stand in defiance of time and change will always be fighting a losing battle.
Time moves forward, the universe expands, technology explodes. Progress is the unavoidable way of the world, of life, nature, science and, no matter how reluctantly, man.
Trying to stop progress makes as much sense as wading into the Mississippi River and trying to hold back the water with your hands.
Yet, despite the evidence of history, some will try to say, “Enough is enough. It’s OK that we’ve gotten to this point, but no more.” Some say it valiantly, some foolishly, but all to the same effect.
There is no stopping. Never has been, never will be; at least not till the universal cuckoo clock stops ticking.
At the same time, something within all of us can understand the desire to hold on to what we know and what we find comfortable. No matter how progressive one might be, there is something that each of us would like to hold on to. There are personal things we do not want to lose or see changed.
There is, in fact, one element that has withstood every change of time and technology. Throughout all historical, social, political and natural progress, it has held fast, undaunted.
It comes back to that human conundrum I mentioned earlier. It is that unique, intangible thing that makes us what we are – you might call it human nature or the human spirit.
In a sense, this human spirit can grow and be influenced, but it’s fundamentals do not change; and those fundamentals illustrate the conundrum – the good and bad, the light and dark that wrestle within us all. In other words, the best and the worst of who we are.
Our humanity is defined by these contradictions and complexities – love and hate, passion and apathy, self-sacrifice and greed, war and peace. We can identify them, we can analyze them, but we can’t seem to change, outgrow, or evolve away from them.
While we move with, or are moved by the tides of time and history; and while our knowledge and consciousness may expand, these core characteristics of what we are remain ever so similar.
This is why we cannot help but be excited by change at the same time we fear it. It is why we know we need to take the next step, but we resist.
One way or another, the world will move forward, and we will go with it, even if there is that one part, hardwired in us, that will not be moved.
Everything progresses, and we progress; yet we stay the same. The world changes, and we can change the world; yet we cannot completely change ourselves.
That’s what gives truth to the cliche: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”