Journal, “Gott ist tot.”

Evolution means change, as does immigration, not to mention personal growth.

Who was that Greek who said that you can’t  step into the same river twice? And who were those Greek philosophers who saw everything as being in constant movement. Not to mention as we’ve learned, all kinds of movement, the movement of the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way and the Cosmos itself. There have always been those who have recognized that change could not be avoided, that change was the very nature of life. Our president is not one of them.

And in fact there are loud voices among us who don’t accept this, who would have things fixed in place, and for all time. As, for example, those who would have us returning to a point in the past and trying to restore this fixed point in the present. In fact there are even those who would build their own wall, a private wall, to keep change, new people out, (while waiting perhaps for the country to build a wall).

MAGA all-stars visit border to plot private wall project

People meet at the U.S.-Mexico border
A group of Trump supporters including (from left) former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, Brian Kolfage, Kris Kobach and former Sheriff David Clarke convened in McAllen, Texas, to discuss a new plan for building a wall along the southern border. | Photo courtesy of Brian Kolfage

All of us to some extent would like to have things stay the same. Otherwise we are frightened for our children, even more so for our grandchildren.

And yes, we would like to tell them that things will not change, that yes, there is a Santa Claus, and more seriously that yes, there is a God overlooking, caring for them and for us. And in fact in order not to have to confront the constant presence of  change and movement, most of us, children and grandchildren, go on relying on that God.

But alas, we have known even since the Enlightenment, from the moment when the  German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, announced that ‘ Gott ist tot“ by which he meant that the Enlightenment had “killed” the possibility of belief in God or in any gods, that any gods had ever existed, God being the most permanent element in our lives up until then, Nietzsche’s words, “God is dead,” struck us, hit us hard, sprung us loose as it were, and we’ve never really been able to fully accept that we were not fixed in place with a God watching over us but alone and afloat, and that there was no anchor to hold us, nor island where we could land and be safe.

I got to thinking about all this as read the internet reports and accounts of Trump’s State of the Union speech. Trump is of course one of those who doesn’t accept the world, and our own country which is afterall in the world, as constantly changing, and that we have to be constantly moving, almost running in place if we would just stay where we were or are. Trump would say even that we had to go back to a past time when things were fixed in place.

swastikafour hats

I understand this, Trump’s own swastika or MAGA, although I don’t agree with him about this, or about almost anything he said in the State of the Union.

I do look at my own grandchildren and fear for them, at all the changes they will have to encounter in their own lives as they grow older. Will they be up to it? Sure, I’d like to help them to hold onto a time when things were more secure and comforting, —Santa at Christmas time, God on Sunday in the church, and parents, and grandparents who would not leave them behind, leave them forever, but somehow they parents and grandparents would always be there to assure their children’s comfort and safety.

But of course I couldn’t do this, and thinking about them I had to face the very real possibility that they wouldn’t make it through all the troubles and suffering that they would inevitably encounter, and most likely through no fault of their own. Because life is without fixed points. Life is constant change and constant adapting to the changes. Would my grandchildren be OK, be able to do that?

In his speech Trump would assure everyone that if they followed his prescriptions things would be OK. That’s the best explanation I’ve seen for the continued support of his Republican base. Th wall would be built, he said, and he would build it.

That base, his followers, are for example against immigration (illegal they say, but they really mean all immigration) because immigration first of all brings change. There was a point when things were better, at least according to Trump, and the country’s aim following his lead should be to bring us back to that point in the past. Of course there was no such point….


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