It’s that time of year again and you know the drill. With the commencing of another January, most of us are resetting our annual clocks, our scheduled tasks, our aspirations, as we prepare for yet another trip around the sun.
But is this really the best metaphor for what it is we actually do? After all, we don’t simply repeat these cycles year after year without any variation or forward movement. (At least, we hope not.) Rather, we proceed through our days, our careers, and our world in a manner that might be better represented by a spiral than a circle, making different kinds of progress as we go through the many repeating patterns of our lives.
In thinking about this, I was reminded of our movement through the cosmos, as our planet, our solar system, and our galaxy trace circular orbits around unseen centers of mass, continually moving forward through space. In many ways, the same can be said for civilization. For better and for worse, we can only ever go forward. There is no turning back.
That’s not to say we can’t learn from the past and endeavor to benefit from its many lessons. But we need to always remember we do this within society’s influence, that unseen center of mass that pulls all of us along with it, whether it’s where we want to go or not.
Nevertheless, each of us shifts that center of mass and our direction of progress ever so slightly. That’s just civilization’s collective nature. We all count and it all matters. Our words, our actions, our influence will always matter.
We continuously invent and reinvent ourselves and our civilization from one moment to the next. That’s probably the single-most amazing aspect of being part of this marvel we call humanity. With this perspective in mind, let us all choose to move forward throughout the year and strive to build better tomorrows.