Adaptation

For lack of a better way of thinking about current events…

Ball of Wire

I have thought about these past few weeks of ISIS, Ferguson, NFL (on many fronts), Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, CVS, and the constantly rearing head of illegal substances. Names and images fly through the media and will probably always be connected to these times, challenges, and battles.

My thoughts have been of frustration, and an almost editorial reaction to the confusing world we are facing. I am T-I-R-E-D of hearing all these reports repeatedly. I am F-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-e-d that we want to dismantle organizations because the participants do not obey the law, or if they do not do what we like then we’ll write a new law. I am not GALVANIZED to action against an organization because of the abuses by individuals. I want adults to act like adults…

Where is the reaction to the news this week of 17,000 children per day, world wide and under the age of 5, are dying every single day?  Or, who is writing about the children growing up in refuse dumps around the world like those we learned about last night in Manila? How concerned are we to be sending our military to Africa to help combat Ebola?

Then I thought about the adapting culture we live in. For some the adaptation is welcomed (legalized marijuana, assisted suicide, and a huge list of modern times acceptance of stuff), and for others it’s just a view of the slippery slope of failing values of the world. Still, some say, “Let’s throw out the old, invent the new, and either you are part of us, or not. We don’t care!” And the opposite spectrum wants to kick out all the new and go back to a previous idyllic time, keeping our heads in the proverbial sand.

Essentially, it seems like all sides have problems with adapting to the opposite side. 

Can we adapt to the changing world around us? Sure. Maybe. I guess. Yes? …I dunno…

Adapting often means changing  one’s self to suit the times or situations in which we are living… We adapt to underwater with Scuba gear, or high altitudes with oxygen. Pressure suits or vessels keep the atmosphere at bay. Yet adapting like this has limitations.  Mechanical means are the only way’s to exist in the lower and higher zones of our world. We cannot swim like fish, or fly like birds, and even they have limitations to which they cannot adapt.

Our world has become a tangled mess, like a tangled pile of of wires. We struggle with finding a way to untangle life, asking, “How do we adapt?” The problem? Instead of untangling we often add more tangled wires to the pile and instead of clearing out the mess, we only make it worse.

Life keeps getting more and more complex. Rules change, and life presents a new face, and those who have lived a certain way are now faced with learning how to live in the new society.

Think about something you have grown up with, say, Church. Is it still the same today as it was a generation ago? No! Is it more complex? Yes, it seems you need great talent of technologists to make church happen. Can you adapt to the changing stage? Not I, and not easily! It seems like church has become more about the entertainment value for the congregant and less about what you went to church for! Smoke and mirrors. Light systems that dance across the walls. Perfect seating and lighting. Singers like rock stars. take the stage and there is an applause for the personality or the talent. Homilies that are less about substance and more about pleasing the listener. 

Everyone is expected to adapt. Not everyone finds adapting possible, or even a quick task. So, consider adaptation. as defined in sociology:

“…a slow,usually unconscious modification of individual and social activity in adjustment to cultural surroundings.”

So, can we adapt? That’s one question. The other question, “Should we?”

What’s the best way to untangle our lives? One wire at a time, one unraveling at a time. It’s a slow process. And it should be slow, else we simply tangle more deeply the pile before us, and life gets even more complicated.

How do we untangle abuse? You cannot legislate it – that’s trying to control the behavior when the behavior is learned standing at the knees of previous generations. How do we accept the new social norms? Not easily unless you blindly accept every change that happens. Perhaps the recent stories have simply galvanized everyone to action? Perhaps it has been brewing like a lava dome and finally explodes on the scene?

Leisure suitsMy kids may lovingly call me a “crotchety ol’ man” but the changes I’ve experienced in my brief span on Planet Earth is like living in a whirling washing tub and spin dry clothes dryer – all at the same time. From life of the mid-50’s, I have seen changes that constantly force people of my generation a boat load of trouble as we try to untangle and apply to ourselves. There is no way you just blindly accept every change as being good as some are simply an overnight step from one path to another.

Imagine if we all adapted to Leisure Suits, and refused to change and looked like we did back in the 70’s. All the women would have “big hair” and Afro’s would be the norm.

Living in changing times causes me to consider that every generation has experienced the challenges of change. While it is true that many of the things NEED to be change, and we are deperate to see these changes happen, we feel we cannot simply wait for change – we challenge the social fabric and strive to MAKE it happen. Now. Today.

It is amazing the speed of the change that’s happening on many fronts!

True, man of these changes have  been a long time coming, and there are definitely ways to deal with them, but it seems like there is a “mob mentality” today to undo Big Hairwhat has been accepted or tolerated for a life time. It’s like a rolling tide sweeping across the plains. The power of the changing times will roll over some, and carry away others, and will probably continue to tangle the life around us.

We have known about abuse – spousal, child and drugs, for a very long time – yet the changes that need to be made are a life time in coming and not something that we can simply legislate. We have continually modified our language and the words we use so as to not offend, again, it’s a life time of change and no new law can modify how we have lived for centuries. We have even known of racism, well, it might never really go away, even if we take a life time to adjust our viewpoints. 

Our form of adaptation is often as worse as the crime, and there is no excuse for it. Violent confrontation does not work, nor does making new laws. In 2012, NBC News reported there were 40,000 new laws going into effect. Forty Thousand. One estimate is that we have more than several million laws on the books. There is no way we can obey them all, and so we get in the mode of choosing those we want to support and ignoring all others..

What happens when we ignore the new laws? I guess it depends on who’s carrying the bigger stick, because some of these laws are more visible and will carry more visible reactions by the lawgivers and the public. Like Lemmings we get caught up in a situation that has the public eye and everyone seems to get involved. Before you know it mob mentality rules, and laws fly out the window, while new laws are written to corral the perception of the problems.

When the world gets topsy turvy, every thing falls under a new scrutiny in eye of public debate. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What’s right? What’s wrong? Will cooler heads prevail? Where are our leaders in all of this? Many of them are as guilty as the public – they are simply reacting to what’s happening, and not leading. Are they simply riding the waves of re-election? Possibly.

Yet, every one of us want to see change. Positive. Affirming. Accepting. Visible. Welcoming.

Right? If that’s the case, can you accept the viewpoint of the person on the opposite side of understanding and allow them to keep their own view point?

The world around us is changing. Some are excited about the change, while others are struggling with the vanishing past. I have this thought about where we are, and where we are going.

We ain’t seen nothing yet!

I could list the changes that I think will happen, but then some will think I’m crazy, or a prophet. So, I will keep them to myself and listen to the words of Jesus.

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Matthew 18:7 ESV)
 
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