Something Has to Change
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Card #290 – Something has to Change

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Change is our only constant. Something in you and/or the outer situation has to change. Go with the flow of transformation; don’t resist it by clinging to the obsolescent structures of the past.

Life is change — you must keep moving, changing, adapting, transforming. In Annie Hall, Alvy Singer says: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

Your relationship with life, the Tao, must be like a live shark — constant forward movement or else stagnation and death. Early in World War Z, Brad Pitt tells a father who is keeping his family locked in their apartment during a zombie apocalypse, “I used to work in dangerous places. People who moved, survived, and those who didn’t . . . (continuing in Spanish) Movement is life. Movement is life.” See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAnruEKBBF4

We cannot retreat from the onslaught of life. We must keep moving and changing. As the Dylan lyric puts it:
“. . . he not busy being born is busy dying.”

Many forces within and without resist change. For those willing to read more, in “Dealing with Shock,” the last section of A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler,
discusses a philosophy of shock:

Homeostasis and Punctuated Equilibrium

Why is shock so crucial? One reason is that all organisms are conservative. They dial in an equilibrium, what biologists call “homeostasis,” and they seek to maintain it. This is a crucial life function because organisms are generally complex, fragile processes that require relatively narrow parameters of environmental conditions such as oxygen levels, temperatures, and food sources. They will inevitably be subject to destabilizing, toxic forces (such as cosmic rays and viruses) that can cause death or even extinction. Organisms work indefatigably to try to dial in their niche and maintain the homeostasis that keeps them going. You don’t want your liver enzymes, heart rate, or blood sugar to fluctuate wildly. That would threaten your survival. You want them dialed in, rolling along on an even keel.

The human psyche is an organism, the most complex we know of, and complexity often means fragility. Both Freud and Jung recognized that the human psyche is highly conservative.

Contra Naturum Development

Conservatism can be good for homeostasis but can also put a ceiling on development and evolution if it’s excessive. To evolve means to change, but most people resist change. Without mincing words, a reasonably conscious woman told me, “I don’t like change.” I told her I could sympathize because unpleasant shocks often precipitate change. But disliking change creates suffering because change is our only constant.

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him with the words,

‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction.”
— Abraham Lincoln, in an address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in 1859

So shock can be like a divine gift, a catalyst for evolutionary change. After all, if it wasn’t for shock in the form of a giant asteroid hitting the earth sixty-six million years ago and flattening everything larger than a chicken, there might be a velociraptor strolling through tropical foliage instead of you sitting there reading this over the internet. Our incarnation begins with birth shock, is punctuated with shocks, and often ends with one. 

If shock seems relevant to your change process, go to A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler
and read the complete section “Dealing with Shock.”

Consider this an auspicious time to flow with the cycle of life and accept change with agility and grace.

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