The human condition and the future-present principle

Two thoughts that bounce around in my head constantly.

1. I can’t accept that things won’t change.

One of the most fundamental laws of the universe is that things never remain the same.

Because of this, and because humans — you and me and everyone we know — are the result of millions of years of constant evolution, I know that change is inevitable.

But still we can find ourselves on a wet Tuesday morning getting tough on ourselves for our inability to make change happen.

We need to change things. We need to not accept things or situations that we find dangerous or dull or unsatisfying.

I strive to change those things.

I strive to change my circumstances, to change how I am in the world, to change myself.

I can’t accept that things won’t change.

2. I must remember that there are things in my life right now that, if they were to change, would cause me great grief.

Because of our evolution, we see everything that’s dangerous or threatening or just not the way we want them to be.

Our reaction to the danger or peril or dissatisfaction is to want to change them, to make it better. The instinct is a natural one, baked into all life, as old as the oldest amoebas — to want to preserve and continue life.

But we often do not see, or we find it more difficult to appreciate, all the things in life that are glorious and beautiful.

We get complacent. We take things as they are and part of us expects them never to change, and we chastise ourselves for being shocked when they do.

I must remember that there are things in my life right now that, if they were to change, would cause me great grief.


I’ve taken to thinking of this as the future-present principle.

We can’t accept that things will always be like this, so we must remember to look to the future.

We can’t neglect that some things right now are the best they will ever be, so we must remember to see the present.

It’s a bit absurd to try to think of both things, but both things are necessary.

Welcome to the human condition.