You’ll maybe have noticed the by-line at the top of my blog – “becoming not being”. That was a phrase I encountered when reading the works of the French philosopher, Giles Deleuze. I suppose I’m still surprised how little that understanding informs our lives.
From the version of the “scientific method” which dominates our thinking, to the increasingly control driven methods of politics, the economy and society, we seem to privilege a view of the world which is based on what is fixed and “measurable” – data, categories, statistics and metrics.
Yet, that view gives us such a poor representation of reality as we find it in Nature.
Heraclitus, about 2500 years ago, wrote about change. He pointed out that we “cannot step in the same river twice”.
Philo, in the first century BC, said
“In a procession the first ranks get out of sight as they move further. In a torrent the waves stream faster than our capacity to perceive them. Similarly in life, things pass by, move away and although they seem firm, not one of them remains fixed for a single moment. All flee continuously.”
The twentieth century saw the splitting of the atom, and with that, the confirmation that there are no solid, fixed irreducible entities at the base of reality.
Yet it’s only now, in the last years of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first that we are seriously grasping what all of those insights mean.
The controlling ethos of measurements and norms might be everywhere still, but the seeds of change are sprouting.
For me, understanding that we can’t fix, box, contain and pin down reality is liberating.
The constancy of change, of becoming, seems to offer a different way of living – more free, more diverse, more creative.
We really are the co-creators of our universe and our daily lives. I wonder what kind of world we’ll co-create in the years ahead? And although that’s a question no-one can answer, the thrill, for me, is in knowing that I can, and will, contribute to the change.
And so will you.