In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson
Pop culture is ever evolving. The zeitgeist carries us along as styles change. Ever moving with the current of time. Principles, are much steadier. They are rooted by gravity, even in a river. A principle is steadfast, grounded in deep held beliefs and moral code.
Throughout the years, decades, and centuries, style has changed drastically. The comparison to a river current is quite apt. Like a leaf on a river, style is ever pulled down stream. To fit in with your surroundings and your peers, one should adapt to the style of the time. If you were to continue to wear the same style of clothing as you wore when what was popular when you were a child, today you would most likely appear odd and unrelateable to those around you.
Principles, on the other hand are much deeper rooted into our moral fabric. These ideals are often impressed upon us during our upbringing and molded during our formative years. When you have strong principles, you have a touchstone to keep you grounded. These principles keep you from going along with the crowd when they are going against your ideals.
A word of caution. Some principles have sharp edges and are flawed. We are a product of those around us, especially those with power and influence. Some principles are passed down based on flawed logic.
This quote is from Thomas Jefferson, a great founder of the United States of America. He wrote the document that legitimized our nation, the Declaration of Independence, and later advised in the writing of the Constitution. Many would say, and I agree, that he had strong principles and morals, unfortunately, he also owned slaves.
Mayhap this was a “matter of style” and he was just going “with the current” of his times being a wealthy Virginan, however, this principle of slave ownership was, thankfully, washed away over time. As the current of style washes across time and progress marches forward, it can erode the sharp uncouth edges of flawed principals. Often principles are only moved by a major event in history, like a flood can move boulders. Some may say this is an eroding the moral fabric, however, I believe progress will polish the bedrock principles that man should live by forever.
In matters of style and principle, how do you move with the current and stand like a rock? Have you ever changed your principles and Why?
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