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February 13, 2020 / Congau

Changing Minds

It’s astonishing how people change. On one hand, we are creatures of habit programmed to repeat our routines day after day in the same manner and with the same phrases, but yet people are capable of changing even some of their more important inclinations.

The times change. A new generation has a different outlook than the previous one and going back a hundred or two hundred years we get reports of very different people. Looking many centuries back we may wonder if our ancestors were people at all. However, it’s not the case that each generation is a break with what was before; it grows up more or less in line with their parents’ perspective, and when it is different, the new generation merely hooks on to new currents that are already flowing. Since a change is never abrupt, it must happen within the group of people already existing, and that again means that it must also happen within the same individuals.

This is logical in the abstract, but it’s also empirically observable and then it seems quite astonishing. One person says something you know he wouldn’t have said a few years earlier, and it is always consistent with talk that is heard elsewhere during that time. That is a concrete instant of the times changing right before our eyes.

There’s nothing wrong about changing one’s opinions and attitudes, but it is suspicious when it happens simultaneously to many people. How can we be expected to believe that we are witnessing independent and critical thinking even though they assure us that they have come up with everything all by themselves?

We now like what we didn’t like before. Isn’t our taste genuine either? Isn’t our personality tied to our permanent sentiments? What happens to our own being if we always bow to the wind of change?

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