The Winds of Change

It is a cliché and that is unfortunate. The overuse has dulled a vivid word picture. I was trying to figure out who first coined the phrase. The earliest that I could find (utilizing my amateur etymological skills) was the middle of the last century. Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his second inaugural address on January 21, 1957, brandished the phrase ‘winds of change’ while speaking about what he viewed as the beginning of the end of communism. He said;

Through the night of their bondage, the unconquerable will of heroes has struck with the swift, sharp thrust of lightning. Budapest is no longer merely the name of a city; henceforth it is a new and shining symbol of man’s yearning to be free.

Thus across all the globe there harshly blow the winds of change. And, we—though fortunate be our lot—know that we can never turn our backs to them.

Three years later in Cape Town, South Africa, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Harold Macmillan, while giving a speech about decolonization of Africa, made the phrase famous. He said;

The wind of change is blowing through this continent.

Googling ‘Winds of Change’ nets (according to my query) more than 39 million hits. Many of them have to do with the end of the Cold War. That, probably, is because of the song that the Scorpions wrote around the time that the Berlin Wall crumbled. Everyone knows the title: The Winds of Change.

They wrote:

The wind of change blows straight into the face of time


The future's in the air I can feel it everywhere blowing with the wind of change

The imagery, whether on the Dark Continent or down to Gorky Park, is of a sweeping, unrestrained and sometimes chaotic gale of moving circumstance and uncertainty. Most of us know the feeling of sails filled by the winds of change. And most of us dislike it.

I guess we should get used to it. After all, tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis (i.e. times change, we need to change with them), and the famous Heraclitian, nothing endures but change.

Change is uncomfortable, but it is often very good. Like here;

… For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52 ESV)

It still lends an unsteady feeling. My hope rests in the fact that, while the winds of change keep blowing, there is someone who never, ever changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

There. That's better.


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