When I was cleaning up some files, I found this quote. I don’t know who said it or where I got it from. “Most people…are thermometers that record or register the temperature of majority of opinion, not thermostats that transform or regulate the temperature of society.”
I had to read the quote several times to clarify in my mind the difference between being a thermometer and a thermostat. And then I thought about the thermostat wars that my husband and I play daily. I like the house warmer than he does. I nudge the thermostat up and he pushes it back down. I’ve learned to wear extra jackets in the house summer and winter. We each try to change the atmosphere of our house. It’s hard work to negotiate a reasonable environment that both of us are comfortable in and can function well in.
That’s very different from looking at the thermometer and noting that the house is cold or the house is hot. We each could go along with whatever the temperature is reading and complain or ignore or accept. We could look at that thermometer on the thermostat and not do a thing. We could go along and wish things were different…that the house was warmer or cooler. However, we move the thermostat.
But we do more. Because we live in an old house, the windows are drafty. We investigated putting in new windows but that cost was too high. So we are now installing heavy draperies that we can open and close to help regulate the temperature in the house. We are being proactive to change the “society” in our home. We are not going along with the status quo.
Maybe this quote is right. It’s easier to accept the majority opinion. It’s much harder to work to regulate the temperature of a society (or our house.)