While reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.” Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge. What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.
What is Knowledge?
Knowledge is a formula:
Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time
During the knowledge process, change happens. Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues. The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge. I love the show “Married with Children.” In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle. The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”
What is change?
Change is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming. There is nothing to fear in change. Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change. During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?” Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization. I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.
That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become. Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot. Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.
Why is this important?
To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?” For that which you desire, you will change to acquire. Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.” His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team. Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.
A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife. They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem. This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired. My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place. Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.
That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring. As a kid, I wanted a book. Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00. I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book. Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday. I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.” Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.
Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring. We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire. Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency? What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire? What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?
Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?
“Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.” Therein lay the caution. Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition. But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making. During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.” Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.
Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable. Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained. Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful. Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful. You choose; choose wisely!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.
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