Nothing Ever Changes, Except for The People

A few years ago I tried to develop an idea to humour myself. I theorized that human beings never change, they only adapt. I reasoned that, as is commonly believed, humans being don’t really change their personalities, as they merely adapt to their emotional surroundings; undergoing a type of psychological evolution to be able to survive and live in an increasingly difficult world. My train of thought was that, given the events that occur around us on a daily basis, complete “change” would be impossible as this would supersede the primary step in the process of learning. That is to say, if a human being were to “change” their personality, they would not understand, they would merely deconstruct and reconstruct (I really hope someone gets that thinly veiled allusion). In contrast, if a human being were to understand, and then deconstruct and reconstruct their psychological state as a way of learning and maturing from and past the events they view, they would “adapt,” and therefore grow.

For the longest time, this was my train of thought and whenever friends, colleagues, or family members spoke to be about people they knew that had “changed” I would try to present my theory. I’d reason that it would be impossible for the people they knew to have miraculously “changed” and, instead, that these individuals had adapted to an event that had forced them to undergo a process of psychological evolution. Frankly, to this day, I have no idea why I even bothered because arguments of semantics very rarely have any bearing when the concept of human psychology comes into play (especially when your friend is trying to explain to you why he thinks getting back together with this ex-girlfriend is a logical idea because she’s “changed” and I “don’t understand what she’s gone through” because “she’s learned to have grown as a person.”).

I always found that, once I tried to present an idea that seemed out of place or insubstantial when compared to the matter at hand, I would be snubbed or disregarded until I returned to the topic that was being discussed prior. I understood that my theories of change and adaptation had no place within the realms of the psychological, but I was still annoyed that my point of view was being ignored. This cycle of ignorance and annoyance continued to the point where I decided upon two things; (1) Nothing ever changes and (2) Problems make the world go round. To be fair, I was wrong about the first point, but more or less right about the second, though it’s best to combine the two to gain a complete understanding of my discovery.

The truth of the matter is that problems that make the world spin never change; famine, war, disease, hate, discrimination – all of the afflictions that humanity, as a society and species, goes through on a daily basis does not change. Discrimination today, though not as focused on a single culture, is still rampant, and war today, though far more “civilized” and “modern” is relatively the same. Suffice it to say, if we don’t like something, a conflict will form, though this article isn’t about the difficulty to maintain a truly pacifistic outlook; it’s about accepting that problems and conflicts we have never go away, though the way people deal with them will continue to change and evolve. Therein lies the corollary between my new discovery and my older theory; human beings (as a society or species) will continue to evolve and find new ways of “dealing” with the negative aspects of their existences. Though war and disease exist today, we don’t fight like we used to and we certainly don’t die of the same diseases as our ancestors had the difficulty of experiencing.

I find it interesting that I’ve developed this train of thought because I’ve commonly shared the generally accepted notion that human history repeats itself at an astonishing rate, because it does; wars breed more wars, politics breeds more distrust, money breeds more greed, and the cycles and chains of life continue on. However, and this point I cannot emphasize enough, our problems continue to be the same, but the way we recognize and attempt to resolve (or absolve) our dilemmas continues to evolve and adapt as we do (psychologically of course; the day human kind evolves a symbiotic connection, not unlike in James Cameron’s Avatar, will be the day that everything will come together, or fall apart in a devestatingly spectacular fashion; though I digress once again, because a host mind is not the topic of the day).

At this point, I’m sure that many members of my imaginary audience are finding themselves quite annoyed at my words; I’m sure you feel cheated due to what I’ve said and due to your own beliefs, which is why I must be allowed an explanation. I’m not suggesting that the world will never change or grow past its infant-like state; with the right application of luck, persistence, and general insanity the world can change. What I am suggesting, however, is what Northrop Frye suggested in the book I so thoroughly despised – humanity, like literature, very rarely comes out with new stories. Instead, we repeat tales and legends from our past, but constantly improve upon the formula, adding new characters, new themes, new settings; often, we change the equations of our world, but the stories remains relatively the same.

This is not a bad thing because we have yet to truly solve any of our greatest dilemmas. I stated earlier that war, famine, and disease still lurk in our cities and countries, but it’s not just these dramatic players that wander our stages; the desolation of discrimination and domestic abuse, a poorly educated work force, a poorly educated culture and, worst of all, a culture that is ignorant to the pleas of its own people all exist within our civilizations.

These are not the only problems the world has, of course, and I’m sure anyone else can add a substantially greater number to the ever growing pile, though the fact is that they still exist. Despite this fact, humankind’s understanding and actions regarding our problems have differed and changed. At a time in our history, we would have ignored such lists as miniscule and inconsequential; I’m sure many would disregard my writing as infantile and derivative; I’m sure many wouldn’t even care. Now, however, we understand that we cannot continue forward without considering more than just ourselves. A few days ago I wrote an article about how life is difficult and I feel that’s going to be this month’s main topic (last month was opinion and understanding; opinion, though, will always be the topic of the month, it might not get all the attention, but it’s always there and being talked about), because life is difficult, but it’s also getting better.

It will also continue getting better, so long as the problems we have are reflected upon and taken into considering. It will continue to get better, so long as we as a species continue to evolve and learn. I leave my imaginary theatre with this final thought: Nothing ever changes, except for the people, their thoughts, and their actions.

As always this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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