Newton’s laws of motion relate an object’s motion to the forces acting on it. In the first law, an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it.
Friday, September 22, 2023
#265 / Duh!
I have reproduced, above, one of those "inspirational quotes" that I find popping into my email inbox from time to time. In this case, as you can tell from my headline, I think that the sentiment that Mr. Twain expresses is rather obvious. Like... Duh!
If we want to change the future, we need to change what we are doing right now. That is pretty obvious. At least, that seems pretty obvious to me. In fact, isn't there some sort of analogy between what Twain is telling us and one of those "Laws" that Newton outlined? Newton's "Laws" all relate to the "Natural World," of course, not our "Human World," but the short answer is, "Yes."
Newton is generally credited with having stated three "Laws" related to "motion." Law #1 (relating to "inertia") is formulated as outlined below:
What happens in the "World of Nature," which is the arena in which Newton's Laws operate, is different, oftentimes, from what happens in the "Human World" that we create, since "our" laws are not confined by necessity. Still, the principle that Newton stated as to the motion of objects in the physical world is also a principle that applies when we consider human affairs. If we want to change what's happening, so as to change the future, we need to take some sort of action "in the present." That is what Twain is telling us.
Like I say: "Duh!" Surely, this is no big surprise to anyone.
Yet.... as obvious as Twain's maxim is, let us admit that we oftentimes don't act as though we actually believe that this is a requirement of the world we most directly inhabit. We act, all too often, as though we really think that something new (and better) might occur if we just wait around for it.
I am suggesting that while Twain's observation is one of those, "Duh!" type truths, we do not, either individually or collectively, pay enough attention to it - at least not to the extent that we change our behavior so as to change our future.
If this is admitted, then I don't feel bad about trying to raise to prominence what Twain has to tell us.
Things are in motion. They are bad and getting worse. Let's list global warming, economic inequality, and environmental degradation as examples (you could pick some other ones, too).
Do we want the future to be different from what we can reliably predict the future is going to be like, as we review what's happening now?
If the answer to that question is "Yes," then we need to do something different.