Reacting to Change.

Photo by Matt Hardy on Unsplash

The world we live in is governed by a curious flow. Currents of change pushing back and forth, manifesting themselves physically or metaphysically. This presents us with four options. We may resign ourselves to the flow, retreat in the direction of the flow, break the flow, or manipulate the flow.

To resign ourselves to the flow is to surrender any personal opinions or feelings and going wherever the currents of change shall take you. This could end for better or worse, but you will not be worried about the outcome, for you have already accepted it.

A natural example is when a person who cannot swim is caught in the river. Rather than wasting energy flailing about and guaranteeing death, the person gives into the current and accepts whatever fate may befall them.

A human example is when people have become stressed out with life. They lean against the proverb to “Go with the flow.” Hence, they live day to day, enjoying what they will, and not letting a moment become more than just that, a moment.

To retreat in the direction of the flow is to be against the flow in mind, but unable to resist the currents of change. You will keep moving in the direction that the flow takes you. You will have bought yourself time to regroup, but to stay against the flow too long will drain you if you have not reorganized.

A natural example is when the banks of a river have flooded and the waterline risen. The plants and animals will withdraw further inland. But inevitably, the water will rise again, forcing the life back until it could retreat no more.

A human example is of an unassertive office worker. Seeking to please others and garner a good reputation, the worker will accept all requests made without protest, regardless of how ridiculous they are. Yet with each request fulfilled, the worker’s lot does not improve. They are left brimming with stress and resentment.

To break the flow is to be unyieldingly against it. Breaking the flow is good for helping others, or for defeating the force of change that you cannot compromise with. But, should the waves become too powerful, you will be swept away, and all those around you as well.

A natural example is when waves strike bluffs and cliffs. The waves are defeated by the precipitous heights and stone strength. They retreat, only to return and strike again. They are defeated. The dwellings near those cliffs are safe. But there will come a day when the solid cliffs will crumble and fall to the sea. The waves will continue their advance and progress until one day, the dwellings near the sea are overcome.

A human example is when one person covers for another. When one person makes a mistake, another is there to help them recover or shield them from the wrath of an authority. But make no mistake. When cover is given too often, and given without reciprocated support, the person giving the cover will succumb to anger and to the waves, while the one receiving the cover will be swept away.

To manipulate the flow is to channel the energy of change in a way that is productive for you. With this, you may convert defeat into victory, vice into virtue, bad into good. But be wary, just as quickly as you’ve created all that is good, the good may turn bad.

A natural example is when a river meanders, changing its course through the intervention of plants and animals, or through the machinations of man. Such meandering could be taken advantage of to maximize productivity of the river. But what is unforeseen are the consequences of manipulating nature. You may find yourself deprived or destroyed by a change in the characteristics of the river’s behavior.

A human example is in our interactions with others. All of our words and actions are chosen carefully to engineer a positive reaction. But the nature of man, like that of a river, is unpredictable. We may miscalculate, and we will pay for our decisions.

All throughout history, we’ve experimented with reactions to the flow, both physically, and metaphysically. Our success in life depends on proper responses. We have not yet found success in consistently predicting responses.

This article was inspired by this poem.

This is a revision of a previous article I wrote, titled “Flow.”

Photo by Matt Hardy on Unsplash

The world we live in is governed by a curious flow. Currents of change pushing back and forth, manifesting themselves physically or metaphysically. This presents us with four options. We may resign ourselves to the flow, retreat in the direction of the flow, break the flow, or manipulate the flow.

To resign ourselves to the flow is to surrender any personal opinions or feelings and going wherever the currents of change shall take you. This could end for better or worse, but you will not be worried about the outcome, for you have already accepted it.

To retreat in the direction of the flow is to be against the flow in mind, but unable to resist the currents of change. You will keep moving in the direction that the flow takes you. You will have bought yourself time to regroup, but to stay against the flow too long will drain you if you have not reorganized.

To break the flow is to be unyieldingly against it. Breaking the flow is good for helping others, or for defeating the force of change that you cannot compromise with. But, should the waves become too powerful, you will be swept away, and all those around you as well.

To manipulate the flow is to channel the energy of change in a way that is productive for you. With this, you may convert defeat into victory, vice into virtue, bad into good. But be wary, just as quickly as you’ve created all that is good, the good may turn bad.

All throughout history, we’ve sought to control the flow, both physically, and metaphysically.

This article was inspired by this poem.

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ENTJ poet/philosopher, political/military strategist. Student of the classics. Catholic religion, Daoist philosophy.

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Trần Trung Hiếu

Trần Trung Hiếu

ENTJ poet/philosopher, political/military strategist. Student of the classics. Catholic religion, Daoist philosophy.

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