Backwards or Forwards?

Backwards or Forwards? (1,250)

August 26th, 2011

Progress.

It is fascinating to me that the word “progress” has gone from being a noble virtue, seemingly birthed in the notion of American quality, to a word viewed with mixed emotions—sometimes even with obtuse suspicion. Some people, it seems, don’t want progress because they would like to go backwards in time—to acquire a nostalgic sensation of simplicity. Other folks insist that the only way to gain progress is to move forward, accepting the daily “blue plate special” of new choices—whether we like them or not.

Honestly, I think progress has nothing to do with going backwards or forwards. It has to do with one simple word: excellence. I have found in my life that sometimes going backwards is an excellent choice. And certainly moving forward has had redeemable qualities as well. Progress, rather than being an issue of liberal and conservative, backwards or forwards, nostalgic or innovative, is actually an issue of finding excellence, and either returning to it or establishing it.

Now, “excellence” is so poorly-comprehended that to simply state that “we need to have it” is to baffle human existence into total bewilderment. What is excellence? What actually does move human beings up the ladder from the monkeys? What is true progress?

Stop pouting.

Really—it’s that simple. Pouting is the water that douses the fires of human energy. It three main forms: (1) “I was surprised that things turned out the way they did.” (2) “It’s not fair.” (3) “With God as my witness, that will never happen again.”

If you find yourself uttering any of these phrases, you are literally spitting into the wind of life as we know it on this planet called earth. To say that we’re “surprised” is to admit that we expected something as opposed to anticipating all the potential realities. Now, there may be a scenario we might not be able to think of, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the other fifteen. To proclaim that something is “not fair” is to put forth the theory that Mother Nature has favorites or, on the other hand, that God thinks you’re “the cutest on the block.” Not so. There is a system in place. Learn it or be burned by it. And finally, to have the audacity to insist that our frailty is a one-time event is to invite the cursing cousins of difficulty to come our way just to mock us.

Excellence is achieved by human beings when they cease to pout about inevitable conditions and begin to anticipate possibilities instead of expecting results.

They stop decrying the ways of God and nature as mean-spirited and humbly admit they have a weakness in a particular area—and with cautious optimism, proceed to try to do it better. I see no difference between liberals and conservatives in their productivity. Conservatives pout because “life is going to hell in a hand basket” and liberals pout over how slowly change is being made in our society. Pouters always fail—because they are busy licking their wounds when the next opportunity presents itself.

Progress is not decided by going backwards or forwards. Progress comes from knowing that three things will never change:

1. Free will. Anything you do to stand in the way of human free will is a futile task, and you will find yourself fighting the heavens.

2. Nature will have its way. If it’s happened before it will happen again, and the only thing you can do is prepare for it.

3. God doesn’t have favorites. The Bible makes it clear that God looks on the heart. His Spirit moves towards those who have emotional clarity and cleanness—because they’re not pouting about their paltry portion.

When you remove all the dialogue about backwards and forwards, conservative and liberal, or evil and good, what you end up with is the pursuit of excellence. That particular quest is achieved by those who decide to refrain from pouting—because just like little children, when we pout, God has only three choices—give us a time out, ignore us or spank us.

Published in: on August 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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