November 23, 2008

The World, It Is A-Changin’

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 9:26 am

I’m very independant. One of the most disastrous relationships of my life was with my mother before my parents’ divorce, and to a lesser extent for some time after (doped by a continent of distance). When I was a kid I wouldn’t accept the rules (what I saw as an invasive program to control my life), and would rebel. Since I’m also stupidly stubborn, even though I knew I would never win against a parent, I refused to accept defeat. All sorts of screaming resulted almost every day.

As with most things, neither of us were really in the right, and we both admit that today. For my part (in hindsight) I was a little shit and would go above and beyond the call of my character flaws to just cause trouble in protest.

This reconciliation has happened recently, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know my mom as a person and not as “the oppressor”. It’s got me thinking though.

There’s a sort of self-feeding loop with your opinions of people — after a while you mostly see what you want to see, which makes it hard to see subtle changes, which could add up to large changes. The most common one I can think of is when you find someone annoying.

The problem with thinking someone is annoying is that it will be the in forefront of your mind anytime they speak. Whether or not they are still annoying by your most impersonal standards, you have developed a much lower tolerance for them. You associate the sound of their voice with annoyance. Whenever they talk about a topic, you find yourself unable to care about it, dismissive, even if it’s something that usually interests you. It’s a defence mechanism designed to repel people you dislike. In groups this gets more complicated, especially if your other friends don’t also find this person annoying.

But people do change over time. The changes we notice most are when someone suddenly betrays or reconciles, which is easy to spot and react/adapt to, but what about when someone changes gradually? If someone once was annoying or stupid or any number of other negatives, how do you recognize when they’ve incrementally changed to a point where if you had just met them, you would accept them? How much does someone you know have to change beyond that point to get over your bias?

Is this why people “grow apart”? Is growing apart just something that happens when you can’t spot gradual changes over time, so you become out of touch with who the person really has become?



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