The Water, the Rock, and the Maginot Line

After World War I, France built a massive line of fixed fortified concrete bunkers and walls. It was called the Maginot Line and it’s gone down as one of history’s great blunders. The goal was to prevent future invasions by Germany like the one in 1914.

The problem was the French were fighting the previous war and the Germans were preparing themselves to fight the next one. In a World War I framework, an adversary would have been crazy to conduct a frontal assault against the Maginot Line.

By 1940, when the Germans quickly overran France, the Germans simply flew their planes over it and drove their tanks around it. The massive fortification did nothing to defend France and their reliance upon it caused them not to otherwise prepare.

The stark imagery of this example has gone down in history as a metaphor of stolid, dogmatic thinking in the face of change.

Wisdom is adaptation to the moment. Fixed thinking, like the Maginot Line, is not up to facing new challenges.

A similar metaphor is that of the a rock and water. A rock is solid, strong, immovable. Water is soft and pliant. It goes over and around the rock. Watched for a day or a week, the rock appears to be winning the battle. It’s holding its ground and standing firm. However, come back in a year or five or fifty. Over time, the water will wear the rock into nothing.

New challenges require us to be agile and adaptive. We live in a world, especially now, that is not only experiencing massive change in this moment, but is nearing the birth of a very different world where many old paradigms are going to be tested.

If we don’t adapt, we can look forward to the fate of the rock and the Maginot Line.

If we work to understand the difference between immutable principles and merely habitual thinking, a very important distinction, we will find ways to navigate and thrive in this new world.

Better days are ahead for humanity, if we’re smart, flexible, and principled.

My grandmother lived from 1904 to 1988. When she was five, her family got into a horse-drawn wagon and rode outside of town to observe the 1910 passing of Halley’s Comet. When she was 64, she witnessed a man walking on the moon.

Wagon thinking would never have gotten us to the moon in six decades. New thinking was required.

It’s very likely that in two or three decades our world will be more advanced and changed relative to today than 1969 was to 1910.

That kind of change holds both peril and opportunity. Who will we be? Will our technology run us or will we use our technology to benefit humanity in ways never before imagined? Will power and wealth be held in fewer a fewer hands or will we finally create an egalitarian society where our genius meets our basic needs and we have the freedom to explore our highest aspirations?

I don’t and I won’t let this moment get me down. We’re going through the growing pains of massive transformation. Whether it is to the benefit or detriment of most human beings is being decided, as tomorrow always is, by our thoughts, words, and actions today.

Stay safe. Stay well. Amazing things are on the way! Oh, and by the way, just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!


Ray

I Am Human – Day 297 of 365 Days to a Better You

I am human.

I have let anger boil when I should have let compassion rain down. I have felt afraid when the moment called for bravery. I have taken when I should have given. I have ignored the needs of others when those needs were right in front of me. I have wanted to be right more than I wanted to be good. I have failed to say thank you more times than I can count. I have lived a lesser version of me, when my greatness shined right in my eyes.

I am human.

I have been a hero in small ways and large. I have tipped more than the service called for. I have handed people money on the street rather than walking by. I have said yes when I really wanted to say no. I have put the good of others ahead of my own. I have succeeded when everything said I should have failed. I have stood against the odds, my fears, my selfishness, and all the negativity the world could throw at me. I have seen my greatness and that of those around me and reminded us all of it.

I am human.

Some moments I’m brilliant and some I am dumber than a rock. I wake up each day and I do the best I can as my awareness, experience, and circumstances allow me to see it. I will do better tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I will encourage others to do the same. Together we will create the world we are capable of having; a world better than today, and yesterday, and the day before that.

We are human!

If no one has reminded you today, you are AWESOME! Have a fantastic evening and I will talk to you again soon.

Ray

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