You already know my exasperation with useless platitudes. Idealogs spout these quipy blanket generalizations in rhetoric as whimsical justifications for their present condition. Most often, these tired proverbs surface when faced with no obvious solution to conflict or convenient explanation for error or injustice. They are the equivalent to indulgent theological expletives! Philosophy and poetry are meant to help you better know yourself and for exercising your mind. They are for testing your personal constitution of statutory principles and morals, not to be manipulated as meaningful and competitive arguments to justify the use of unnecessary force, to point out obvious disparities, rationalize ungallant surrender or to render unwarranted judgment! Well, just yesterday, I heard again, the frustrating brain fart, “People don’t change.”
Freud, Piaget, and Maslow all support evidence of this premise in their theories on psychological development. In a nutshell, what happens to you in your youth tends to effectually shape the unique individual you are to become. I do most ardently agree! However, I have witnessed evidence that suggests such early encounters can have but one effect of many potential differing outcomes on youthful subjects, and that the mind in fact becomes malleable once it is open to change. I am living proof that, in spite of how I was incidentally shaped as a prepubescent, I have successfully reengineered my way of both acting and thinking.
Whether by intention of social custom or by exposure to incidents of random happenstance, you are conditioned to have predetermined expectations. In their own intrusive and inevitable nature, these exposures and encounters also help you to dictate your future actions and behavior, voluntary and otherwise. Pavlov’s bell having induced a slobbery, famished dog’s inner chemical response to hunger is (albeit, overused, but nonetheless) a prime example, although, this was indeed, as intended, an isolated experiment.
Suppose, however, Pavlov’s dog was given a choice of cuisine randomly, at different meals and on the same routine schedule, but this time the same bell was only rung for the dog’s least desirable option. Would he drool at it’s ring? No? Well what if he were extremely hungry, and not been fed for days? Possibly, yes? My point is that of course, you both instinctually, and sometimes purposefully, recognize patterns and develop expectations based on experience, but you also form these expectations based not only on your past encounters, but on your present condition. Furthermore, you recall said experiences based on how well you remember them, or rather the magnitude of influence and impact said experiences left imprinted on your brain. If you can manipulate another (dog or human) based on this process of conditioning, then based on the same principle, this means you have the ability to adapt your own responses and behavior.
I have found that “People don’t change…” because they are unmotivated or unwilling, not because they are unable. People are egocentric and predictable (says centuries of anthropological study) and will usually prioritize their own survival, or the survival of their legacy (children, ideals) above all else. Those who are unmotivated have not yet lost enough consequent their nasty habits or vices to feel the sort of powerlessness that threatens emotional or physical survival. The ability to recognize this powerlessness is a necessary impetus for the evocation of change. You are either consumed by the ramifications of your fundamental flaws and vices or you rise above your baser instincts and exercise your own will to adapt and change your ways, in hopes of a new goal or simple exit strategy. Realize that there MUST be a compelling impetus for change. Wanting to change is not enough. Why fix it, if it ain’t broke! =)
Change can be accomplished on a trivial or a grand scale. The larger the change, the more time it takes to correct habitual behavior, but with determination and behavior modification techniques, SUPPORT and incentive…that’s right…we are subject to drooling on command just like Pavlov’s poor little mutt. The idea that change is impossible, is ludicrous!
If you want to be open to change, NEVER stop learning. Be open to learning something new everyday. Visit a new view on an old subject, and be able to learn from ANYONE. Question everything. If you think you already know it all, you are missing the answers to questions you never even thought to ask! Start small, and be critical of yourself more than others. What do you not like about yourself? What do you like about yourself that may hurt those around you? Can you change it? Should you change it? How? Life is too short for dwelling on regrets. Carpe Diem! No day like today to start. Be willing to adapt to life as it comes at you, because if you don’t, life will surely move on without you!