“Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.”
– Ella, Cinderella
This is one of my favorite quotes ever.
There’s not really that much I can add to this beyond the obvious. Something isn’t “right” simply because “that’s how it is.” All sorts of people throughout the ages have used that as excuse to justify their inaction. They see something wrong, but it seems impossible to change, so they don’t try. In fairness, it is a dangerous thing, going against the grain, swimming against the current. Even worse, however, is going with the grain, in the wrong direction, and helping to bury dissenters beneath the flow.
A great deal of the good in our world comes from the fruit of revolutions. Brave, intelligent people saw something wrong, stood up against it, and changed it. Sometimes it was quickly, and sometimes it took generations, but the world has been improved because people refused to accept that it was impossible.
There is another side of this to address, though: just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
Something isn’t right just because it’s been done that way for generations, but neither is it wrong for the same reason.
I have seen people, eager and perhaps too hasty to improve the world, casually dismiss everything previous generations have done. Good or bad, it makes no difference to them, it’s part of how things were and how they are, and they want to change it all. They don’t stop to ask why things are/were done that way. They don’t stop to see how firm the ground is that they’re standing on, or how potentially dangerous the ground is that they are racing headlong towards. They want change for the sake of change, and they want that change now.
Change is often good, but sometimes bad, and always dangerous in some way. Either way, it must be questioned, and sometimes it must come more slowly and carefully than one might like. We, as people, must move more slowly wherever the ground is uncertain, and all change is uncertain.
As always, it is a question of balance.