Monday, January 05, 2009

On people and change

People are a complicated lot. I dont think many people know themselves too well. I dont mean the word "themselves" in a spiritual connotation of self-realization or such higher meaning. I am only referring to people knowing themselves like they know other people, or in fact, like their family or friends know them.

The key point is that people are constantly defining and redifining themselves, both consciously and unconsciously. As a result of all the experiences and our cogitations and reflections on these experiences within the environments we find ourselves in, we develop a system of understanding of the world around us - and that includes ourselves. As a result of the continuous reconciliation between who we think we are, what we think we want and who we think we want to be, we are actually an amorphous mass of shifting core values, with numerous blobs of inconsistencies and contradictions, rather than a well-defined, solid individual that we may perceive or project ourselves to be. Now this is perhaps, an overly complicated way of saying that people change - that seems obvious enough - but also that people change in ways that they dont quite understand well.

Critically then, the point to be made here is that people do not fully appreciate who they are - in totality. But, people do realize that they change. We see our faces, our voices, our bodies change, but also our dreams, ambitions, jobs, fears, convictions, passions, friendships and relationships - they all change. While one may realize that he wants to pursue a career in music now, instead of a childhood dream in journalism, he perhaps doesnt realize the extent to which this change affects him in other ways, such as his fears or friendships. They are too intertwined interally, for his intelligence to be fully aware of it, until it becomes apparent later. As a result, there is this gap that exists between who we really are, and who we think we are. When we talk about ourselves to others, based on who we think we are, we probably come close to describing several facets of our personality and our changes, but that does not describe who we are, and this is likely different from what others think we are, and how we have changed.

While this may not be understood or even relevant in people's everyday dealings, many emotional and inter-personal issues result as a consequence of this gap in communication. This may even help in explanining difficult human characteristics such as hypocrisy or betrayal.


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