The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, 'Change is the only constant in life'. He believed that permanence is an illusion and that everything lives in a process of constant change.
Think about it – change is seen in the natural world’s transformations as well as its transition from season to season; change occurs among people who transform – both physically, mentally, socially, emotionally and even spiritually – every single day of their lives; and change is seen in civilization, politics, thought, art, geography and economy, etc., in just about every aspect of the modern world. The word “Change” refers to an act or instance of making or becoming different – such as history’s change, or transition, from a nomadic to an agricultural society.
If this notion is valid, then why does it seem that so many people are resistant to change? It’s a tough question to answer. But it warrants an attempt.
Consider all the changes in a person’s life: a person is born a small baby, they live and grow, then one day become old and decrepit, and they ultimately die. It is the natural order of things, but no one wants to get old, suffer and die. So naturally, people do things to resist this big change, only to finally come to terms that they – like all living things – must wither away into a state of nothingness.
People willingly and deliberately do things to go against the grain of aging, such as avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices, like sleeping too little, eating unhealthy foods, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and stressing too much too often. They think they can avoid the inevitable if they just try hard enough, though this mentality is just a distraction from dying and death itself. People get plastic surgery in order to convince themselves they are further away from old age and death than they actually are.
But avoiding the natural changes of life only adds more suffering, creating a deep feeling that one is not being true to themselves and not living according to the natural order of the world. This, in turn, creates inner turmoil, as their resistance to change does more harm than good.
People also seem resistant to the changing times. Look at the controversy over legalizing gay marriage in various parts of the world. Homosexuality is (for the most part) no longer a taboo in secularizing countries like Ireland and the United States, which in the recent past were closely associated with Christianity and heterosexual marriage. People of more traditional mentalities and understandings have been quite resistant to this change: that any two people who love each other can marry regardless of their sexuality or gender. These days it is becoming a Human Rights issue more so than one of religion or spirituality.
Nonetheless, people are against this – as Humanity as a whole is once again resistant to change. Had he been wiser, Heraclitus would have said, “the resistance to change is the only constant in life.” But there was no way he could have anticipated the complex world in which we live today, with its never-ending influx of new technologies that change the way we all live, think, work and relate to people.
Perhaps people are afraid of change and its implications for good reasons. People work hard in their lives, both professional and personal, to get the hang of it – to figure it out. Then comes along a big change, a departure from what was previously seen and understood as normal, and it’s hard to accept. Change makes for new challenges, for different ways of doing things, and it creates a disruption of the normal way of living for most people. To conclude, it seems logical that a person can avoid much suffering in life if they take on a perspective that includes accepting change – and just going with the flow of life. It’s better that way. It has to be. Change is the only constant in life. If you want to read more essay on similar themes, find below the list of selected topics:
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