Change, rebirth, transformation, evolution, revolution and reform. In this presidential era of unbridled and unprecedented corruption, these are just some of the words (along with king, monarch, fascist, despot and the ever-popular tyrant) heard daily on (and off) the campaign trail. But with all due respect to shall we say colorful reporting, and as is my mantra, words matter.

Politicians come and go, but their policies remain. My firm guess is this dictatorial, less than presidential and deficient in almost every way that matters, King Don the Con will leave behind a legacy of deceit, despair, agony and destruction. The aftermath will hopefully be a time of sober reflection and redemption. When, as now, creation is no longer a viable option, and destruction becomes the path of least resistance, surely (surly?) we must acknowledge we are at  the beginning of an era of renewal, rebirth and transformation. Of Shiva and Bob Dylan ascending. Sounds scary but it need not be. The question then becomes, what will we, the people, in the political, social and aspirational sense, make of it?

Moving on from Hinduism and 60’s protest folk rock, I recently watched the movie “The Two Popes.” On top of being an excellent film well worth the two-plus hours running time, Pope Benedict and future Francis engage in an interesting discussion I would like to expand on.

What is the difference between compromise and change?

By time the end credits came and went, other than a short and rather circular argument (they’re different because I said one louder than the other) by both Popes, I thought the query worthy of further, if nothing else, pondering. And so, ponder, I did. This is what I came up with.

To compromise, one must give up something to get something. To change, one must give up something to get something. Conclusion? They are different and indeed, the difference is quite profound. Let me go into a deeper dive.

Compromise invariably involves a starting position and in the end, a digging in of one’s heels. The two sides are invariably drawn as if by gravity into a black hole at the bottom of which, there is hopefully some mutual ground. If the ground is firm, the now two positions in one where nobody gets everything they want but at least part of what they thought important enough to take a stand, becomes the new “common” ground. If the dirt is packed firm enough, and the sub-laterals hold, (and the creek don’t rise) voila! The newly discovered land of compromise. Perhaps a nice place to raise your kids, but a place where invariably, everyone is unhappy.

Change on the other hand, is not quite so simple as a negotiation between two sides who think they know what they want, for true change requires, let’s call it a leap of faith. True change isn’t about gravity, it’s about weightlessness. It is allowing the old, the familiar and often comforting past to float away for the chance that a future based on the new will be not only equal, but superior to that which came before, worked, didn’t it? But now obsolete, must be at least, in part, if not completely, replaced. With something untried. Something new. For better, or for worse, this is change. Change happens. Change is what we should want for change is good, unless it isn’t. 

My hope is that the next generation initiates an era of sober reflection, reincarnation, reconstruction, songs of redemption and Turn! Baby Turn! (Had to get the Byrds in there, too). Or maybe Burn Baby Burn (Dante’s Disco Inferno?) Either way, I’m good. Peace sign out yo.

Did you get your fill of Phil?


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