Saturday, December 04, 2010

In Defense Of The Status Quo

Sure, I know that you'd expect me to talking music here and that I'd be posting this to support the band.  No, I'm not, but that "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" was really covered well by Camper Van Beethoven.  I just wanted to take a moment and reflect.

The status quo is a shortened version of the Latin term "in stātu quō ante bellum erat" which meant the way it was before the war.”  By shortening it, we've left it to mean "the way it was."  This has some problems as it is currently used to talk about the way things currently are or (as defined) the existing state of affairs or state of things.  You hear about retaining the status quo, keeping the status quo and challenging the status quo.

A lot of what is said in the use of the phrase is in a derogatory sense noting a need for something different because the results of the 'existing state of affairs' aren't satisfactory.  That is where my sticking point begins.

If a bulb in a lamp goes out in your house, there are tons of options to yield a pleasant outcome.  You may turn on another lamp.  You may move the bulb from one lamp to another.  You may switch on a night light.  You may turn on an appliance or several.  You may grab a flashlight.  You may dismiss it as unimportant (as it may be daylight out)... but we are addressing moving away from the status quo -- which would be the new found darkness.

But the thing we are most knowledgeable is would be our status quo.  We wouldn't want to change it if were weren't entirely aware of what it was first.  Yet, often times we as a society do.  Our resolution to a perceived problem with the way things are would most definitely reflect our viewpoint.  Those viewpoints aren't always shared.  In that same household, one person may want the brightness to read a book, another may require that bulb they moved in another room and another may find a problem with turning on the other lamp as it may be a higher wattage bulb.  I'm sure there are many other viewpoints but not one is more right or wrong than another.

A full understanding the status quo could only yield a better choice.  But, sometimes it isn't the best choice.  And if one considers "the war" as the battle of ideas over resolving a light bulb going out... the "in stātu quō ante bellum erat" would be to replace the bulb with a new one.  Which I know most of you considered as the obvious choice in the first place.  I'm off to go buy a light bulb.

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