The Times Are Changing -- Again
The key to a long and successful life is always changing and adapting -- and not just once and thinking one need never change again. That is always the fatal formula -- why even the powerful dinosaurs that once ruled the earth, are all extinct. They couldn't adapt fast enough -- or at all. They were perfect for a certain time and conditions, and when those changed, they had no skills for changing.
That is the important lesson for any time -- and conditions; one has to be prepared for change, and to change again, and as long as they are, remain viable, fit and able to whatever challenges arise. The sadness, and the sad lesson, are those reliving their youth, as the only way it can be -- thinking it will always be that way, even if only in their minds, which becomes their self-isolating and self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those are the people who age badly -- while good aging, are people changing with the times -- to be their best at any time. That formula is just as obvious -- as well as the look of one always changing, adapting, perfecting their responses. As long as one can change, adapt, improve, they have more than a better chance of being successful -- and surviving. That's what success is. There is no other.
It isn't some other static, immutable, unchanging metric for all time and ages. It is the very ability to re-create oneself -- as needed, and as appropriate -- that is fitness, in a very real world, as the only place that matters. That is the ultimately and consummately successful individual. That is the person creating the parameters -- of any given age, time and place.
Those of the old, will insist that one has to repeat the patterns of the past -- as the only way it can ever be -- insisting it is since time immemorial, of which they also claim to be the heirs and caretakers of that legacy and culture. But time passes them by -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate -- thinking one day, it will all be relevant again. It never works that way -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate and repeat -- and remember.
All that is gone -- and something new and very different rules the day -- and that is what they now have to learn and master. Those who won't make it -- will go into denial, refusing to acknowledge the present realities -- increasingly living only in their minds and memories, as though that was enough of a survival response to remain in the game and flow of life -- rather than the certain death it has always been.
Some prefer that certainty to any change -- but it is in embracing change that is the way -- and not simply doing what they have always done before, as though that was enough to ensure their survival or prosperity -- especially if it hasn't worked before! But by then, they've become these obsessive-compulsive personalities that just go through the motions -- without relevance and acknowledgement of the current realities. They pine for another time -- of their greatest glory, whether it actually ever was. Their memories and thoughts are all they think necessary -- to cling to, until they are no more.
At one time, that may have been the predominant mode of thought -- but alas, that too has passed on.
Until Something Works
We remember Thomas Edison for the one time he succeeded -- and not the thousand times he failed -- but each failure was different until he succeeded, and not just failing the same way every time. The more different ways one fails, leads them eventually to success -- and not just failing the same way over and over again, ensuring their failure. That is the difference between success and failure -- and not that one never makes mistakes, or fails to try.
One learns from failure -- until something works. And then when something works, one merely repeats that -- and moves on to learn something else, something new and different. In this way, energy is released and refocused to something else, the next challenge that stands in the way of ever-improving life.
That is what evolution is about -- finding a way to win, and not merely resigning oneself that it doesn't make a difference, and nothing matters. Yet some people regard that as the height of intellectual sophistication -- that they can no longer discern the difference in anything -- the true from the false, up and down, left and right, the authentic from the inauthentic,
It all averages out they proudly proclaim. So why try harder -- when the least amount of effort will do, and better yet, why do anything at all, if the reward will be the same for all -- regardless of merit and effort. In fact, such people think that the more useless they become, that they have won the game of life -- because then everybody else will have to do everything for them, and they no longer have to do anything for themselves.
Naturally such a life is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- and they become more useless to themselves, more dependent on others, less free and independent -- which means doing for oneself, as much as possible. There is a certain joy in being able to do things for oneself -- as well as survive and thrive under many challenging conditions from which many others might perish.
It might be as simple as being able to cross the street by oneself -- with some assurance of safety -- rather than just stepping into traffic regardless of what others might be doing. The safest person in such an event, is one who is aware of what everybody else is doing -- and not merely preoccupied with what they want to do -- thinking that everybody else's responsibility is to look out for them.
The world, and life, does not work very well that way. Every individual has to be their own first line of defense -- being aware of what their unique vantage/perspective can provide to the larger community and culture. Early on in life, that is mostly provided by the larger to the individual -- but at some point it is hoped, the best individuals will greatly reward that investment into those formative years.
A few don't get there as fully "mature" people -- at any point in their lives, which should be a great concern for those responsible for that function and learning. But in order to do so, they have to be able to tell the difference -- and not despair that no matter what they do, nothing makes a difference. It won't as long as they keep doing the same thing -- hoping for a different result. Nothing works that way.
Instead, they have to do something different -- and notice the differences that result -- good or bad, because both are equally important in providing information that gets them closer to the results they want. The mistake is to persist only in believing in the outcome they want -- rather than the actual results, that they will deny as being valid.
Their beliefs (ideology) prevail over everything their actual experiences are telling them. The actual may even be derided as "anecdotal" -- or having no scientific basis because the properly designated "experts" have not discovered or thought of it first, and gotten funding for their studies.
Science is not about a hierarchy of experts but the access to the truth by anybody, and particularly those not indoctrinated by the current thinking which oversees this problem only getting worse without end. Obviously, that current thinking, is what doesn't work, and one should be free, to explore other solutions that might -- confident that there is nothing to lose by maintaining the status quo, and accepting the dismal prognosis as a certain fate. It's not surprising then, that many people find their own "cures."
Very often, it is one of a kind -- at the right time, place and circumstances -- when nothing less will do. And if it works, one stays with it -- until it doesn't, and then one has to discover again, what works. And failing that, not proclaiming proudly to all, that nothing works, and nothing can make a difference.
The Best of Times
Every species knows that to experience the best in life, they have to be at their best -- at all times, and especially so as they grow older -- otherwise, they just are not going to be around.
That doesn't necessarily mean being the Alpha Male -- which is necessarily a high risk occupation of constant challenges and endless responsibilities. But even alpha males know there comes a time when it is right to step aside to a lower profile niche position there is less competition for.-- thereby retaining their usefulness to the greater society. That is usually exhibited by the ability and willingness to take care of others -- or just to take care of themselves so as not to be a liability to the group but an asset when sheer numbers require as many able bodies as available.
That doesn't mean just being a warm body is sufficient. Frequently, all that is required is just to show up -- at the right time and moment. That mere presence is often enough to turn the tide of an outcome. Of course that is life on the grander scale -- than the pettiness most have come to accept as their lives.
Thus the quest for a greater sense of participation in the lives of all others, has become an integral part of contemporary lives we know as "entertainment," and distractions from our actual lives. Many come to prefer those fantasies over the possibilities of actualizing their own lives to the greatest extent possible. They in fact become incapable of distinguishing the fiction from the reality, the virtual over the actual.
The actual is how we manifest our own lives -- and not how much we identify with some other fictional or ideal -- wishing it was true for us. Many have lost this ability to distinguish between what they know to be true, from how they actually live that truth -- which then becomes a greaat problem in society. What they do may be the opposite of what they think they are doing -- or hope to convince others is what they are doing.
When that difference is pointed out to them, they will get angry and demand that one believe as they are instructed to, and not what their own senses are telling them. In fact, they are frequently told not to believe their own senses -- in favor of what the self-proclaimed authorities would have us believe were handed down directly from the Most High personally, to convey to the masses.
Invariably, that message is to abandon one's own judgment and capacity to judge and discern such matters for themselves -- in favor of what the experts proclaim them to be. As a result, very few come to know themselves well -- because they believe what others tell them they are, rather than finding that out for themselves -- as the ultimate quest of every meaningful life, and as Socrates said, "the only life worth living."
That is one's own -- and so why not the best? That's really the only thing that makes sense -- making the best of one's own life -- no matter what one has to work with. Very few begin with absolutely nothing, and very few begin with absolutely everything, and so the first task, is finding out what exactly one has -- and beyond that, their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Thus every wise advice, has consisted of the instruction, "to know oneself" -- instead of presuming to know everyone else. That is their business and order of the day. That is in fact, how one distinguishes the wise from the unwise -- how much they know themselves, and not how much they want others to think of them.
The latter will always be miserable -- because what they know is useless to themselves, because they cannot prove it on themselves. They are powerless to act on their own problems -- and can only project them on to others to solve. They can solve all the imaginary problems of the world, but never any real ones -- particularly in their own lives.
Those who can, are living in the best of times -- doing the best they can, and that's all that matters.
The Problem is Not the Answer
Many people's solution to a problem, is to create another problem instead -- rationalizing that it is the lesser of two evils, or at least a different problem -- as though that was the best of all worlds, rather than eliminating all problems as best they can foresee.
In this way, all the energy that should be freed by the preoccupation with the problem, is merely diverted to another, and so it seems, nothing ever changes -- as truly they have not. That is excellent job security -- for those who make a living off of those problems, that of course would be eliminated, by the elimination of the problem. And so they are vested in the perpetuation of those problems -- rather than the elimination of those underlying conditions -- all the while demanding, unlimited more money -- to "solve" a problem they have no intention of eliminating.
That ties up a lot of money -- as well as energy, and other resources -- and before one knows it, time and life are over, without making any progress from one generation to the next. Life frequently can go on for generations that way -- before there is a breakthrough, and the course of human history and evolution are transformed entirely. But surely that time will come again -- as it always has before. Nothing stays the same forever -- especially if it was ever alive. That is the quality of life -- that it is the process of change, and thus the possibility of improvement.
The greater life, is the measure of change -- but the meaningful question is, what changes? Is it simply running faster, jumping higher, or lifting more weights -- or would it more meaningfully be measured as the robustness and vitality of life in longevity -- as we've never witnessed before? That would be the great challenge of this age -- when increasingly more of the population ages with their well-known "problems" of aging. What if those problems were eliminated? How would human consciousness be transformed? -- without nearly half of life being consumed by the preoccupation with remaining robust and vital throughout whatever remaining years?
Those should be the thoughts of truly progressive people -- and not merely, how to achieve more of the same?
The defining aspect of every life, is not what a person does for work, as much as what they do for recreation -- which as the word says, re-creates their lives. Not surprisingly then, exercise frequently is a leading example of this recreational life -- and other activities one engages in -- not because somebody else pays or rewards them to, but because it is how an individual rewards themselves.
For some, that would largely entail eating as their favorite pastime -- naturally resulting in their overweight or obese condition -- invariably and unmistakably the result of what they do -- as their favorite activity in life, just as the lean and fit exhibit their preoccupation. And that word means as it says, "before all else."
Many others would claim they engage in no recreation or recreational activities -- because they are entirely preoccupied with making money -- in everything they do, and so have no such alternative universes to retreat to -- as that word implies, "take a break from." Implied in this, is that they have no time for anything else -- no time to revive themselves, no time to recreate themselves, no space for reconsidering and rethinking everything they do in life -- including complaining about how out of control their lives have become -- rather than reflecting for a moment, that it doesn't have to be that way -- but they themselves make it so.
They could just as well do everything in their lives very differently -- and that feeling -- and control of their lives and outcomes, is what determines their quality of life, which is the summation of everything they do and are in their own life. It's even difficult, for some people to realize that they "own" their own lives -- so much do they feel that they are merely pawns to everything, and everybody else -- which is the life in despair.
People get that way -- if they don't do anything else -- to re-create a different scenario and story of their lives. For some, it is as easy as rewriting that script -- to a happy ending -- as their favorite recreational activity. Nobody might pay them for such a work of literature -- but the great benefit is not that others pay them for it, as much as that is what the life they reward themselves with -- by envisioning and detailing it.
In this way, the distinctions of fiction and non-fiction comes to an end -- and one lives wholly and newly in the integrated world of their own making. That is how reality comes into being -- rather than remaining the division and fragmentation most experience as their lives -- thinking that is the world for everybody else also. Only if they think it so -- and their teachers might also, as what they were taught to -- by the many fragmented minds that is the only way reality can be.
Yet there have always been a few who have described a wholly other vision of life -- without the divisions and conflicts they engender -- as souls of these other planes of existence, that most feel they can merely admire -- but not live -- because they are living the lives they do live, with neither the time nor inclination for any other.
Some seasons of the year enforce a greater degree of inactivity that may allow this greater introspection of a less harried life of peace and contentment -- and the vow to do better at attaining it in the coming year. Their resolve grows greater even as the days grow darker and shorter. They promise to themselves to do anything -- if only the days will get brighter and longer again.
They've made it through one more cycle of their lives in that way -- but only in the survival mode. The bigger picture -- is whether they go further and beyond that -- as the foundation for subsequent years, and not just repeating the same old cycles and rituals year after year with diminishing vigor and conviction. That is obviously the "greater lives" the prophets and madmen speak of. Surely, that is "not of this world." Or could it be?
That is the question of our lives.
The Future is being created as we actually live it. It's always been that way. That should be the lesson for those who make it into old age. They have to continue to improve each day -- and failing to do so, will make them get worse, deteriorate and finally die. That is also true for people at every age. One either gets better, or one will get worse -- and that should be the lesson instilled from the earliest days. That is the significance of education.
Learning is for the purpose of improving -- and not just accumulating facts for no greater purpose than having it and flaunting it -- as a few still think. That is a useless education. It has to have a meaning and purpose to be worthwhile -- and life sustaining, revitalizing and recreating. Many lose that meaning and purpose somewhere in their lives -- and are cast adrift from that march of improvement, and even think it their purpose to resist all further change and improvement -- even when it makes life immeasurably easier and better for them.
They just think the value and strength is in resistance -- and deliberately condition themselves in that manner -- never realizing that the whole point in conditioning, is to make life easier and better for themselves. That is the only point -- in everything they do. Yet for whatever reason, some people think the whole point in life and their individual calling, is to make their own lives as difficult and hard as possible, and to make those they have contact with, also as hard and difficult as possible -- as though there was some great advantage and virtue in doing so.
Obviously, such people have learned all the wrong lessons in life -- and getting back on the right track, largely requires this reorientation to the right meaning and purpose for what they do. Otherwise, everything they do, only results in their own self-destruction -- until ultimately, they are no longer viable and vital as human beings -- and eventually no longer recognizable as human beings. They are just life -- but without the meaning and purpose -- of one doing their best to continue to improve and evolve.
For what? -- many will ask, thinking life is arbitrary in this and every other respect. It is as it has always been -- to express and enjoy the greatest life one is capable of, which undoubtedly, will be different for everyone but everyone's lifelong unique challenge. When that stops, one is obviously in deterioration, decline and hopelessness -- and drifting away from the river of life into their own stagnant pools of existence.
That is not how life invariably is -- but the beginning of the end for many. Those are the markers of simply heading the wrong way -- and not the inevitable result of living a long life. The mistakes pile up and become overwhelming -- until one realizes at any time, that one can simply let it all go, and begin life anew the right way. That is the importance of dying to the old, and being reborn in the new -- that conveys everlasting life,to those living in that flow.
That is no great mystery in life. That is what everything in life shouts -- but a few have grown weary of listening, and so they do not hear the voices encouraging them along the way -- guiding them to the right. They are convinced that others are there to thwart them at every turn, and so their lives are consumed in constant and endless battles -- to the end. That end comes as a relief -- as the ending of struggle, pain, misery and suffering, and finally the eternal rest of peace.
But life doesn't have to be that way, or end that way -- to those paying attention, and taking better care of themselves -- rather than neglecting and abusing themselves as the major activity of their lives. That can be done in so many ways -- one regards as their personal vices -- the failure to take good care of themselves, and so others have to take increasing care of them. That is always the rearguard of human society.
What is hoped for, is to remain in the vanguard of the future developments and evolution of human society -- in living the better way, which is always being perfected, not by anyone else, but individually, as we live and manifest them. It is not merely reliving history, refighting the previous battles, repeating life as its always been lived before -- but doing what hasn't been done before. That is the unthinkable -- where humanity has not gone before. That is the promised land of ever-evolving life.
All of life has been a preparation for this moment
People who are sadly mistaken, think that nothing is related to any other. So it comes as quite a shock to them, to learn that they may have had a hand in the outcome they are presently experiencing. It might be as obvious as their poor health and condition. What they did -- or didn't do -- is the reason they are in the shape they're in, and not that they had no part in it.
It is safe to say, that those who are the happiest and most content, are those who think they are mostly responsible for their own fate and outcomes -- and therefore do something about it, rather than lamenting how unfair life has been to them, and given them nothing they deserve. In all likelihood, they have gotten what they deserved -- and if they don't like it, it is time to look into their own actions and their consequences, and see the error of their ways and understanding.
For this, they don't need to begin with a perfect understanding and mastery, as though such a thing were possible -- and easy. They simply have to get better at what they are doing -- just a little bit each day, and of course, they have to start -- and not think of more excuses not to. All the excuses in the world, are no substitute for the tiniest bit of action -- in making a difference. That is especially true when asking why most people age badly, while only a few age well. Those latter, are those who have bettered their understanding of life -- and what it takes to be successful at it.
Not just to be successful at all the trivial ways people may become distracted at -- but deeply engaged in their own lives, so that it makes a difference -- in everything they do. It might be even what they don't do anymore -- realizing it is bad for them, and leads to disastrous results. That would include competing with others, and even oneself -- incessantly, as though it were good and a wise thing to do. The inevitable result is an unnecessary and avoidable injury -- that leads to a premature and permanent impairment and disability -- no matter how many blows one thinks they can absorb. It doesn't make them better and more impervious to damage.
It obviously predisposes one to injury -- and with that, a loss of that exercise, articulation and expression -- as happens to so many thinking to retain the recklessness of their youth by indulging in it as long as they can -- until they can't. That is textbook denial -- rather than an understanding and acceptance of its consequences -- before it is too late.
The signs along the way are obvious -- and obviously trying to tell one something important -- but one has to be listening, or it falls on deaf ears. That's why it is so important to want to learn. If a person is not disposed in that way, no amount of teaching is going to make a difference. One will simply resist it all the more -- thinking that is the proper function of their role in life -- to resist the efforts of every other. Such a person can never benefit from the efforts of others; they reflexively try to undermine and undo it. That's what they've been conditioned to do all their lives.
And ultimately, the person they undermine most, is themselves -- because they cannot help themselves. That's the way they are -- and have no way of being otherwise. Such persons are beyond help. Shit happens, and there's nothing they -- or anybody else, can do about it! That's just the way the world is -- according to their understanding.
So thinking it does make a difference -- makes the biggest difference, which is understanding before any further effort is applied. Lacking this proper understanding, makes all further effort arbitrary, futile and counterproductive. Then once the understanding is valid, the effort naturally follows -- but never does before then.
So, many people's efforts seem to be in vain, and the belief that it can't make a difference, no matter what -- because they don't have this understanding leading to proper effort. And there, they do not inquire further -- but accept their dismal fates, as what must be -- and many will agree with them, and encourage them along the way. They say they wish it could be otherwise, but they do nothing to prevent it. Nothing will change, as long as people keep doing what they've always done before. That is the reason it happens.