Fixing the river in place

There is an old Taoist saying that the human mind seeks always to fix the river in place.  In our personal lives, it means we often try to keep our lives from changing, but, as the Taoist river allusion indicates, that is impossible, because the river of life is constantly moving and changing. We are born, we age, and then we die, this is the natural movement of the river of our lives that none of us can circumvent.

If we try to keep things the same in our lives despite the changes that occur, then we are living out this old Taoist saying, and sooner, or later, we place ourselves so completely out of step with life that we take on the appearance of the fool. You’ve all seen elderly people trying to pretend that they’re not old. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and despite their attempts to be “hip,” or whatever the word is now, they simply appear the fool to those that they’re trying to impress. It truly is sad.

American politics are caught now in a struggle caused by an attempt to fix the river in place. Due to the manipulations of the Russians, manipulations accepted by the Republican party, because it gave them an unexpected victory, the Republican agenda, an agenda warped by hyper-conservatism, is attempting to keep America from moving forward, with all the dangers, and chaos, created by the attempt. If your personal life cannot be fixed in place, then it follows that public life cannot be fixed in place either, so this Republican agenda is the root cause of the chaos in American politics today, because it is antithetical to the real movement of life, both public, and private.

Not that Democrats don’t share part of the blame, because they often attempt to push the river ahead, through too liberal an approach, which, of course, is as impossible as fixing the river in place. Neither hyper-conservatism, nor hyper-liberalism is the answer to America’s, or the world’s, problems. However, the Democratic view of life as moving forward is a fundamentally correct one, so I give them a bit more credit than I do any conservative, because conservatism is the incarnation of the mind attempting to fix the river in place.

What is the political philosophy that most conforms to the movement of life, if both far right and far left are inadequate?

The only political viewpoint that conforms to life is moderate progressive. Life moves continuously, just as the river does; things change, what once worked no longer works in the face of changing conditions. Moderate progressive follows this ever changing pattern of life by allowing our laws to change with life as required, rather than trying to return us to a past that exists only in the murky pond of our memory, or trying to create a future which is even more of an illusion than our past, because it exists only within the limitations of human imagination.

I know that many liberals will take offense to my attack on human imagination, insisting that it is our imagination that allowed progress in the first place, but imagination is limited by the limitations of the human mind, and that is, indeed, tragically limited. I know we humans don’t like to think so, but, to quote a character created by Clint Eastwood, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Too long the human race has blundered through life, insisting that everything we do is good, when the evidence is mounting to the contrary.

This brings me to my strongest reason to oppose conservatism. We are on the threshold of making radical changes to this planet’s environmental systems, and if we do, future generations will suffer for it. We cannot afford to go back, cannot afford to return to what we think were our glory days, because to do so condemns our own grandchildren to a life we cannot imagine. We have no right to do that.

Today is the day that moderately progressive people need to take the reigns of government away from those who would either push us firmly into our past, or try to create a future based on humanity’s wildest hopes and dreams. Neither will work, and their bickering back and forth is the essence of stagnation. They cannot help us, nor can they help our grandchildren, so it is up to us. Vote, and when you vote, vote for those who look forward, but critically question whether what we are about to do will bring us good, or misfortune, because these are the people we need holding the reigns of government, and the future of life on Earth. Search for intelligence in your candidates, find it, not twitter storms, and vote for that.

 

 

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