Tempered By Art: Ideas Of Change

There was a time, in my early youth, when upon a hilltop sat three houses surrounded by fields. I lived in one of those three houses. Days and nights there have been described as being something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Even though the home is gone, memories still remain, as do a few photographs that have survived, along with a painting or two.

Not far from the small homes, just down the hillside was a pond where family fished when visiting. I drove back to that spot on the planet as an adult. The place where prayers were once said to fishing poles were now said from pews. Fields where exercise was with the plow and the time of day told by the position of the sun has now been replaced by spandex-clad bicyclists and runners with more processing power strapped to their wrists than was included in a flight to the moon and back. (Maybe that last part is a stretch -- I haven't actually worked out the math for that, but I think you get the point -- times have changed dramatically since then.)

In my first years at college, walls were being torn down. It was a major discussion in the classrooms of both history and political science alike when images of the Berlin Wall being pummeled with sledgehammers were highlights of the nightly news. But now I can't drive by many new housing developments that don't have walls around them.

I suppose over the years there has always been a backlash as freedoms once enjoyed are removed. Seeing the open prairie divided by barbed wire was perhaps as difficult for those who knew the world before as watching the changes I see taking place now. Though I miss being able to return to that old hilltop and see something other than concrete and steel, parking lots and tract homes, churches and strip malls, I do enjoy the technology on my wrist and the ability to share my thoughts with those who enjoy reading them from anywhere in the world that a connection to this website can be made.

As I struggle to educate myself about how rapidly one way ends and another begins, I do my best to try to think about something far greater in a distant future than I am capable of fully realizing  now. Though it would have been something to have seen the buffalo roam across vast distances, and though at times I miss the simplicity of life on the hilltop as a young child, and even though I could do without the conflicts of chaos that arise in the world both inside and outside of my head from time to time, I'm not sure I want to go back to live in any one moment forever, knowing I would never know a greater future, in spite of the struggles faced to get there; at least in this form.

What I do wish is that for all the lessons change has given, we could learn a way to experience the upgrades by choice without destruction. It's not an easy task to improve such a system -- to provide choice and not be held back by those that choose to remain the same. Nor is it easy for any of us to remain indifferent to a way of life that we may disagree with, especially when we are left feeling pain for what one may know that another does not. The complications of finding solutions to the problems that arise in keeping trillions of cells in the body of one evolved individual in one species alone has taken a very long time to work out and it's still a daily work in progress billions of years later (at least based on current estimates of when the first biological cell came into existence).

Time has never been a luxury to the survival of life. It is certainly not completely represented by the Norman Rockwell painting of a memory I possess of a specific time that has long since passed. Survival alone should never be the sole purpose of our existence in extending life to its next phase either, at least not without being tempered by art.