All Things, New

“I am making everything new!”

Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

The New Testament – Revelation

There’s theology here, but also a statement of inescapable fact.

To live (to exist) is to be made new, so all things – cultures, forests, organisations, frienships, species, buildings, mountains, families, skin-cells, ships of Theseus, mariages – must be, or face erosion, stagnation and death.

Books must be read, plays must be performed, visual art must be experienced, music must be played, scripture must be read. Science must be tested and extended. Institutions must reproduce themselves.

Even dead branches become (new) compost, and then something else.

The Inevitable and Your Choices

Of course this is obvious – but it doesn’t stop us from treating new as a choice, or feeling anxious about it, overlooking the fact that new is happening whether we like it or not.

You may not like the new thing, the new way or the new interpretation – you may miss the old – but you never could have stayed with the old thing anyway. If you had, it would have stopped being the old thing anyway (or worse, have died entirely). This way, at least, it’s still alive – perhaps to be remade or redirected on a journey towards “better” – any anyway, the past keeps changing anyway.

So the question, always, is not “Do I like new things?” or “Do I want change?” but rather (given that change is happening and new is inevitable), “What direction do I want new to go in?” and “What will I renew?” and “How will I make it new this time?”

See Also:

You Can’t Stay
Old Buildings
Change (the hard kind)
Peter Drucker on continuity and change
Worse than this change
Stability: Burke and incremental change
The Hero’s Journey (Wherever I May Roam)
Lost Worlds
The Unforgiving Minute
Doing, Being and Becoming
Past / Prologue
Motion sickness: change and stability

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...