Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let's Adapt to Change

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin

Mr. Darwin’s birthday is February 12th and I have been thinking about change lately, how each of us deals with it in our own way. Change can be welcome, when our lives make a turn for the better or when we finally arrive at something we have been working hard to achieve, and change can be frightening, especially when we feel as if the life we understand might be morphing into something which might require from us more than we think we’re able to give. But how we cope with the latter does more to define who we are than anything else.

This is also the week, on February 9th, 1950, when United States Senator Joseph P. McCarthy accused over two hundred officials in the U.S. State Department of being Communist infiltrators. It’s said that Senator McCarthy was simply an opportunist looking for a way to obtain the national spotlight, and the accusations were so shocking he certainly accomplished that. But the aftermath, which lasted for years and ruined the lives of so many people, was the responsibility of those who allowed their fears to overwhelm their good sense. We’d like to think this could never happen again, but we can see seeds of the same whenever someone is told that to question the actions of one’s elected officials is equal to being unpatriotic.

On the other hand, this week also marks the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, and the 2002 march in Tel Aviv organized by Gush Shalom, a coalition of Israeli peace groups, to protest their own government’s attacks on Palestinian civilians. It also marks the birthday of Fang Lizhi, astrophysicist, whose essays inspired the student movement in the People’s Republic of China that led to the confrontation at Tienanmen Square in 1989. Change is
not easy, but it is possible, especially for those of us, human or otherwise, who are brave enough to take a stand. Besides, how else can Earth prepare for the moment when the rest of the universe's inhabitants decide it's time for humans to become fully participating members?

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