We’ll See: A Brief Meditation on Change

A friend just posted this on Facebook. A classic of Calvin and Hobbes wisdom. Boy I miss that strip…

And it set me to thinking.

I must admit to being somewhat chagrined by my friends who exult in advising people to “not be afraid” of change.

I’m not actually sure they know of what they’re speaking when they say this, or rather I think they’re often more in Calvin’s camp, meaning they’re all for other people changing.

I know I don’t want less jelly on my toast than I got yesterday.

And. Still…

Change is the rule of the universe, no doubt.

Near as I can tell, while it may well be the rule of the universe, we humans are not particularly happy with change, well, unless it’s change to our advantage.

Which sometimes happens.

And sometimes doesn’t.

Whatever. Change rarely seems to care.

So, Zhuangzi, one of my teachers, tells us a story. One day a farmer’s horse ran away. His neighbors said, “How terrible.” To which he replied, “We’ll see.” The next day the horse returned bringing along three wild horses. The neighbors said, “Such good luck.” The farmer replied, “We’ll see.” The next day, the farmer’s son fell while trying to tame one of the new horses and broke his arm. The neighbors said, “Such terrible luck.” The farmer replied, “We’ll see.” The next day an army marched through pressing all the young men they encountered into their number. But they left the young man with the broken arm alone. The neighbors said, “Such good luck.” The farmer replied, “We’ll see.”

I suspect considering the great mix, for the most part change isn’t going to turn out to any given person’s advantage.

That acknowledged, I’m not in favor of just sitting back and waiting. It is a “we’ll see” universe, but we are also called, called by our lives and our ability to see and to act to make choices, even when its hard.

To, as the philosopher said, pay our moneys and takes our chances…

Me, I’m all in favor of trying to put our hands on that arc of history, bending it toward something better.

Knowing that it is win, maybe. And lose, perhaps. Maybe likely.

Of course…

Who knows how its going to turn out?

Change makes no promises.

Well, other than “we’ll see…”

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  • Cushing

    This puts me in mind of S. Suzuki cautioning his students about their eagerness to attain enlightenment; “You may not like it.”

  • Michael

    Great thinking. Love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gretchen.robinson.5 Gretchen Robinson

    a poem to match Leonard Cohen’s by Adrienne Rich

    Prospective Immigrants Please Note
    By Adrienne Rich

    Either you will
    go through this door
    or you will not go through.

    If you go through
    there is always the risk
    of remembering your name.

    Things look at you doubly
    and you must look back
    and let them happen.

    If you do not go through
    it is possible
    to live worthily

    to maintain your attitudes
    to hold your position
    to die bravely

    but much will blind you,
    much will evade you,
    at what cost who knows?

    The door itself
    makes no promises.
    It is only a door.

  • http://arolemodel.com/ PaulH82

    Really enjoyed the poem that Gretched posted. Thanks!

  • Jeanne Desy

    If all the words in Zen were laid end to end I’m sure they’d reach the moon. But would they stop the headlong path to destruction of this pretty planet?