Digital Beard Stroking: Paradox of Change

Paradox of Change

Humans are paradoxical.  Many of our characteristics exist in direct opposition to others.  We drift down a very narrow path between two extremes in many different contexts.  Freedom vs Security. Comfort vs Excitement. Light and Dark. Good and Evil. Pepsi and Coke.  One of the precarious balances I’d like to look at right now is that of Change vs Permanence.

Change is a transient, fleeting sensation that, by its very nature, cannot persist. Once something has changed, it immediately is the new state.  To be in a truly constant state of change would define that thing as in a state of inconsistency, which would become its norm.  No, the very point of “change” is that it’s temporary.  Change itself is a constant presence in the universe, but only because things are not.  Entropy overtakes everything, eventually.

Hah, get it? Inevitable heat death of the universe!

Hah, get it? Inevitable heat death of the universe!

Transitioning through various states is an aspect of the universe that transcends the physics, through biology and all the way into society.  As a species, we’re all mutants and deviants from each other, trying genetic hypotheses against different test criteria in order to ascertain the most efficient and suitable instance for the world we live in.  Every generation, there are yet more mutations in an attempt to be more equipped to deal with the world.

Moving past that, we are in a constant state of changing criteria and methodology for dealing with the stimulation in our lives.  We learn as children and develop means for dealing with the world.  As we work our way through the world, we develop yet more ways to cope with our circumstances and continue living.  Beyond just living, though, we also strive to reproduce and extend our species into the future.  This is one of the core, fundamental assertions of humanity against the entropic transience of the universe and the defining factor of our paradoxical relationship to change itself.

As humans, we are keenly aware of our brief existence.  We live for only a few short decades.  Our impressions of this world are barely scratchings in the sand, only destined to be blown away and lost to the ages.  We’re constantly flailing against the foregone conclusion of our own ephemeral mortality.  Trying to take those scratchings and engrave them.  Stand up and scream something into the void in the vain hope that someone might remember us.  This is the need for permanence that expresses itself within our collective psyche.

This need for permanence is a driving factor in so many of the great creators of history.  Be it a collection of giant pyramids, a wall completely bisecting an island, painted ceilings or other, weirdly rock-themed heaps of stuff, we are obsessed with leaving behind a solid, real reminder that we were here.

seriously, what are these?  Early memes?

seriously, what are these?  Early memes?

The ultimate irony of these expressions of existence and identity is that the larger and more resilient these edifices are, the less likely people are to remember the originators.  Who built Stonehenge? What was the point of the Mayan pyramids again?  What about the Nazca Lines?  As with many things, when we go too far, we overshoot the mark and lose the very fundamental purpose of these massive, permanent structures.  The ultimate answer is always to find that fine line between extremes and identify where on the continuum we wish to exist.

Or, y’know, "go big or go home" ?

Or, y’know, “go big or go home” ?


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