January 26, 2009
This week's inauguration of the 44th president of the United States may very well bring many changes in the way we live and conduct our selves as a Nation. President Obama's campaign promised us just that.
One of his very first steps was to impose a new ethics code for White House staff.
The topic of one of our discussions at "Cafe Philo" (a group discussion I have organized that meets monthly to discuss life issues) was: Is change always good? Each participant was asked the following question? "If someone came to you and said that he had some news that will change your life (assuming that you believe him or her), would your reaction be one of fear or one of joy? Most of the participants had a positive attitude and were optimistic about the hypothetical change.
Change, however, can provoke anxiety. We are never truly comfortable with uncertainty. Yet there are very few things in life that are absolutely certain except of course for death and taxes.
How should we then face unfavorable change?
Here are some ideas:
1. We should recognize that change is inevitable. There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says: "You can never enter the same river twice, because it is no longer the same river and because you are no longer the same person." T.S. Eliot said: "What is actual is actual only for one time, and only for one place.
2. We should be prepared for it, both psychologically and practically by making some contingency plans.
3. We should be alert and not miss opportunities that may rise from the change.
4. We should be willing and ready to learn some lessons from the events that provoked the "negative" change.
5. We should also be aware that we are not totally helpless in change. We also can be agents of change both in our lives and in the lives of others.
As then candidate Obama said:
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."