Constantly Adapt to Change

“You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.” – Heraclitus

One is bound to receive many bumps & bruises while moving through the rapids of shallow thinking. We all know this on some level but are inclined to gush into the river all the same. There seems to be a tendency in our day & age to run headlong into circumstances that are quite frankly well over our head. So why not tread the water so as to acclimatize ourselves to the current instead.

Should we step back and ponder the pragmatic importance of the opening aphorism we might find that Heraclitus continues to add depth of mind. What he appears to be saying, without being overly explicit here, is that things are constantly in flux and that we can’t expect life to remain the same. More to the matter at hand, therefore, we need to constantly adapt to change.

Even though natural law – the principles that guide & direct – cannot be seen with the naked eye, we can nonetheless detect its consequences in the world awry. Just as the wind blows its way, and gravity pulls us down, there’s little that we can do or say, that will enable us to remove its crown. So as to avoid the muddle of a linguistic grey, it may be wise to keep our logic sound.

The point that my arrow is aiming at is this: Life may appear precarious and uncertain, even ambivalent at times, or directionless as the waves of the sea, but below the surface there are undercurrents that we are unable to see. In other words no matter how transient things may seem to be, there are forces within nature that can help us to remain centred.

In order to remain adaptable it’s important to keep in mind the things that are constant. Should we lose sight of that, then we’re a ship without a rudder. To find ground ask yourself what prevents us from receding into wild beasts? Try these human capacities on for size:

                             Self-Awareness – Imagination – Conscience

These terms may provide little bearing on first sight, so let’s lean into psychology to give them a little bite. Mind you these unique abilities are not exclusive; i.e. there are probably a lot more of these human features that we can explore, such as reason and free-will, but for the sake of economy let’s keep it simple for now.

Self-awareness – is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. ( – 2020-07-30)

Imagination – the act or process of imagery, especially of generating mental images of stimuli that are not being or have never been experienced in perception; more generally creative ability or resourcefulness. (A Dictionary of Psychology, 2015, Coleman)

Conscience – a moral sense of what is right and wrong, generally accompanied by corresponding regulation of thought and behaviour. (A Dictionary of Psychology, 2015, Coleman)

We could say these particular qualities are essential to human flourishing, therefore they are intrinsic values, rather than personal preferences. For a person who is unable to reflect upon the implications of his or her actions (self-awareness) in light of a mature ethical standard (conscience) will lack the innovative approach (imagination) to appropriately deal with the unexpected. As such these are the marks of beauty; they enable us to order our lives in a way that is both pleasing and uplifting in all respects.

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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5 Responses to Constantly Adapt to Change

  1. inese says:

    So true, Jason. Even if we don’t agree with a change, it is not wise to resist it dumbly.

  2. One thing about conscience that’s often ignored is that it is a combination of things built into the human genome mixed with a particular society’s views and further influenced by an individual’s perspective and moral system.

    For example, every human society of which I’m aware considers murder of a human being to be wrong. That likely comes from Homo sapiens being a social species; your society won’t last very long if people casually go around killing each other.

    But what constitutes “murder” or unjustified killing varies tremendously from society to society, and also varies from individual to individual.

    By the way, I’m attached to that Heraclitus quote and like your interpretation. I was head writer and part of a team that created the university-produced miniseries “Same River Twice.” No, it’s not the 1996 or 2003 productions. It is a student written, acted, and directed work done under Emmy Award winning producer Saul Landau.

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