“The Status Quo Means Change”


Yes, yes, I know that the meaning of “status quo” is to essentially keep things as they are but I think there is a problem with that particular idea. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.”

There is a feeling in this country today that we need to maintain the status quo. It is clearly an unstated feeling but it seems to permeate almost everything we do, whether what we do is good or bad. It is almost as if we fear change and are unwilling to seek change. In a world and a society in which we willing and boldly went over the horizon and peeked around the corner, we are now reluctant to do so. We now longer wish to venture into the unknown, preferring to stay where we are, thinking that in doing so, we will be safe and secure.

And yet, people came to this country, not knowing what was here because they wanted (and still want) to start a new life. The American Revolution was begun because our ancestors were unwilling to live in society that denied them freedom and they were willing to try a form of government that expressed ideas never before considered.

The exploration of this globe, though driven at times by more ulterior motives, required that we go over the horizon and look around the corner, even when the maps said “Terra Incognita” (or “unknown land”). In when President John Kennedy spoke about going to the moon at Rice University in May of 1962, he noted that it would a difficult task and that it would require metal alloys that had not been invented yet and without knowing what benefits we would receive from the effort.

And he acknowledged that it would not be easy and it would not be cheap. But new hopes for peace and knowledge were to be found by going to not just to the moon but to the planets and stars beyond. So we began the great exploration.

But today, we remain literally earth-bound. No one has stepped on the surface of the moon since Gene Cernan stepped back into the LEM on December 14, 1972, and we are seemingly content to let other countries send individuals into outer space. And our plans for future exploration keep getting pushed back as we consider other activities more important.

But I am afraid that those other activities are the same activities that began to take away the resources of the Apollo program. It was first the war in Viet Nam and now it is the wars and military excursions in the Middle East. And it is not just the military operations but also the mind-set that says we build weapons of war but we forget the people.

How long can we continue to focus on destruction and death rather that construction and life? How long can we continue to send our young off to die or come home injured and then forgotten?

What benefits do we reap today from sending individuals off to war? Perhaps it is the enjoyment that General Robert E. Lee so feared when he wrote to his wife, “It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow fond of it.” And what parent does not want to bury their child, remember the Herodotus’ quote, “In peace, children bury their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to bury their children.”

If maintaining the status quo means keeping things the same, then we must face the fact that we are doomed. Because what we are doing today takes away our life and our future.

But if the status quo means to seek change, then we have a future. IT is future not only for ourselves but for our children and this planet.

Should we not be sending our young and all the able people to find new worlds or seek new things? It is quite easy to see the benefits that we gained from going to the moon in the 1960s. Our smart phones, our computers, and most of the technology of our lives were developed from the efforts to send people into space and return them safely. What benefits shall we reap tomorrow from what we do today?

We have a choice today. We can hold onto what we have right now, which isn’t much, and see our future disappear, much like water evaporating. It won’t be obvious but then one moment we see there is no water in the container. We try valiantly to hold onto to what we have and then we find that it is all gone.

Or we can seek change, not sure if it will work or not but knowing that if we do not seek change, if we do not see what is around the corner or over the horizon, we will fail.

Yes, there might be a cliff over the horizon but how will we know if we don’t go and look; at least we will know that is not the way to go. Yes, it will cost something to do this but consider what we are spending today and what we are spending it on and tell me that we have better ways to spend our funds.

To seek change is the only way to maintain who we are and what we are to be.

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