Monday, May 23, 2011

And Then It Was about Change

"Let's talk about change," says the friend I went to grad school with.
The question came out of the blue which was not necessarily a big surprise to me. I'm told I'm rather decent at dealing with 'out-of-the-blue' statements/questions as I do dish them out quite easily, so reacting to them does not usually require much effort.

We started talking about new music, the Beastie Boys' new release, how some bands have to be seen live to be truly appreciated, ah, and why the creative class tends to cluster in certain areas as opposed to others. Then, all of a sudden, the conversation turned all change-y and philosophical.

I don't usually know what to make of 'change' questions. I seem to participate in a whole lot of discussions that deal with change, though. The answer I provide tends to follow the same tune for the most part i.e., change happens, so you do it. There's no way around it. Sometimes, when I feel jovial and generally at ease, I even get grammatical on one. The example I bring up is the German auxiliary verb 'sein' i.e., 'to be.' I didn't do so on my friend today as, well, he's fully privy to all sorts of verbal behavior. He's seen and done 'em all. In a nutshell, we're trained in the same thing so I'd be preaching to the choir. But, to complete a point, and for the sake of elucidating the idea in this platform, the verb 'to be' in German is happily married to change, and more specifically, change of state. One cannot form the perfect tense of change-signifying verbs were it not for this verb. It's that important a player. So, in German, one says 'I am fallen asleep' instead of 'I have fallen asleep', or 'I am gone' as opposed to 'I have gone' and, most greatly, 'they are died' i.e., 'they have died' and so forth. Right, you get the gist.

'Now' is all we have and if now is pregnant with change then you friggin' handle it. Idealizing the past and projecting too optimistically onto the future does not help anyone. Well, not if having a good grasp on reality is a priority and I tend to see it as one. I don't know, it seems to work out better this way for me and mine. But, I guess, that's how I happen to roll.

Clichéd, I know, but all we have is the present and living hard in it is the only way to do justice to it. I find, I'm keen on adverbs. They modify so well. See, 'well' - adverb. They're ubiquitous. "You're keen on adverbs" says my friend to me as well. Ha, funny, coming from one adverb lover to another. But I digress. I don't know why I'm keen on adverbs, though. I reckon it has something to do with my literary conditioning. We can't necessarily escape our respective upbringing fully. Especially if it's literarily fecund. This, I do believe. I actually know it to be thus. We are what we read or what our parents read when they had us, even. Ah, hold on. Let me backtrack. If the latter part of that statement were true, I'd be in trouble. I'd rather believe in the former, I think. We are what we read. Ok, that I can do. That I know how to deal with. But back to the adverb. The main function of 'now' is to attract one's attention to what truly matters, i.e. the moment at hand or - as I'm told I say often - contemporaneity. And therein lies my enamorment with it.

I'm often rendered wordless however, not philosophically necessarily but rather experientially as I don't share many of my interlocutors' belief that change is hard. I have a moderately good relationship with change. It wasn't always like that, however. It truly is an acquired reaction. One thing I find useful when dealing with utter novelty is to fuse it with already familiar and comfort-informed things. This is why I always bring familiar playlists, Curb, Wonder Boys, and workout outfits. Armed with familiarity and comfort, no change is too hard to conquer.

In nuce, it's not change that's hard but rather constancy. It's difficult (actually, I mean to write impossible but I'm in too sunny a disposition, I guess) to keep pace with constancy. Its gruesome at times and it requires constant work to keep. Change provides a bit of a breather, a chance to view things from another perspective and point of view. If it weren't for change, the processing of ideas and any life experience would be hard to accomplish.


Unknown said...

I liked reading this. Food for thought.
This bit, 'the main function of 'now' is to attract one's attention to what truly matters, i.e. the moment at hand or - as I'm told I say often - contemporaneity,' is something i've long thought about as well. 'Now' is so hard to do but so worth it the few times we manage to do it....

Unknown said...

Also, change like death is one of those topics that doesn't get much attention in the public forum. It's rampant, it happens to us all..., so why not discuss it more? Stability is what's a myth not change, imho.