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Life is Flux - Heraclitus

Updated: May 23, 2022

As Heraclitus, said 2.5 millennia ago, life is flux -- and since then, you may have noticed, even recently, nothing and everything has changed.

Our brains are 67 percent water and our bodies, 70 percent. Yet, strangely, we speak of ourselves as solid. We are not, we are water beings. We are rapids, currents, eddies, and whirlpools. We slosh and squish. And that barely begins to describe our constant movement. We streak through our solar system on a wet rock hurtling through our solar system at 67.000 miles per hour, rotating at 1,000 miles per hour, in a galaxy traveling at 1.3 million miles per hour. How, exactly, could anything -- including us -- not be in flux?

And yet, too often, we persist in holding tightly to the idea that things should be stable. We wish to argue with the stars, tilt at constellations, insist on solidity. We conflate stability with safety by conflating safety with prediction. It's so much easier to predict that which is stable as it can more easily, we assume, be known and defended against. But a quick 2 x 2 of X: safety to no safety and Y: known to unknown, shows an entire quadrant of unknowns that are safe. In fact, we live with them and might not exist without them -- whether we know it or not.

In other words, we have been treating a partial truth about safety equals known -- and/or stable -- as a whole truth. In the process, we have ignored the anodyne effects of not only the safe unknown but the enabling unknown. The changing, enabling unknown.

It might be better to accept how much we change, that we are organic, not some made up metaphor of machine from the industrial revolution. Are brains are not computers, our bodies are not machines waiting for fuel so we can 'maximize our performance and efficiency'. Industrial metaphors blind us to our the fluctuating and adaptive nature of water. We underestimate and miscalibrate our fundamental capacities to constantly change. We fail to realize we are not only equipped for change, we are change.

Only then do we discover all our capacities for change, be they to reframe a situation's meaning, throw away the map we had of ourselves and the universe, or adopt a new pattern as readily as a child learning. We assume and avoid pain which we created by staying attached, stable and dead to an idea, an identity, a situation, as we bargained with the universe to keep it as a predictable set piece where the discomfort of pain is outweighed by the comfort of a known pattern.

We mistakenly assume change is 'out there' and happens to us rather than it is our basic and inseparable nature. When change shows up, (all the time) in our environment, we are already with it if we move with it. This is sometimes called being 'in the zone'. It is like catching a ball by moving with it, adopting its speed, arc, direction and spin. When we are in motion with our surroundings, we are part of the flux.

Life is indeed flux. Which also means being alive is flux. What aspect of life are you insisting be dead and stable so you can be, too?

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