Sunday, October 5, 2008

What Changes, What Stays the Same?

Can people really change? I mean at a fundamental level. What do you think?

I believe I have changed drastically, fundamentally, over and over again. But - maybe it's just behavior and "lifestyle" that have been altered, rather than the essential Reya.

Any ideas about the power of transformation? Are we humans truly capable of change? What do you think?


tut-tut said...

whoa; lots to consider there. The essential person is still there over time, but the manifestation of that essence I think does change. Which aspect of that person is projected more forcefully at one point than at another, for example. hmmmm. Does that mean change, or rather a fluidity about what is revealed at any one time? Or am I making no sense at all? . . .

Barbara said...

I don't believe most people are capable of change at a fundamental level. We can more easily change things like our appearance, our weight, even our speech (try living in the south), our manners, etc. But at the core we remain the same from the moment of birth. I think the real trick is coming to accept ourselves as we are and not demand that we make changes. Otherwise we are always chasing something that remains elusive.

Pauline said...

I think the essential us, our genetic inheritance, doesn't change, but our belief systems, our habits, and even aspects of our personalities can be modified. Have you ever watched "What The Bleep Do We Know?" It is a film that explores the changes we are capable of making in ourselves.

Adrianne said...

I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately because I also have been in a period of transformation. See my post of August 29, entitled "How Much Can a Personality Change," for my thoughts on this topic.

Merle Sneed said...

Change my thinking, change my behavior.

Cyndy said...

I think that people have whatever they were born with as a starting point but who they become has to do with big and little decisions that they make every day throughout their lives and that can go a million different ways. You just decide which path you want to take based on what you know about yourself, what kind of world you are currently in, and where you want to go next.

Lori ann said...

hi reya,

i love how you make us think...i think that change is inherent in everything. it's all there is.sometimes a person will have an incentive to change their behavior, and that could speed up the (on)going process. you are still you but just like a tree that sheds its leaves then grows new ones, each the same but different, season after season. so we say there is that oak. it is the same old oak. but not. its different. just like us.

xx lori (so glad to hear you are feeling better.)

Val said...

lots to think about here, and plenty unformulated ideas. If life is a story you write yourself, then circumstances can change your outward personality - you could become more appreciative, or depressed, more wary of contact or more needy etc
at what point to you 'start off with a set of characteristics' though? there is inherited memory, genetic traits.. but apparently we are also influenced by what we hear while we are still int he womb.. and then from day one before we have language to explain events to ourselves. Some people say character is formed by age 7.
So its a poser for sure.
I like Lori Ann's tree analogy. Trees change shape, grow, get struck by lightening (or elephants) but they are still the same tree...

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow, these are GREAT. What got me to thinking about it is the Sufi acupuncturist who says that humans are the only animals who TRY to change, who WANT to change.

It's interesting to think about. Great ideas, all.

Tut I love the idea of different facets being revealed at different times.

Thanks, all. I have such juicy stuff to think about now. Oh yeah!!

willow said...

My DNA certainly can't change, but my thought processes can change my behavior.

I'm not voting Republican for the first time ever this election. That's change.

Steve said...

People can DEFINITELY change, in profound ways. My mom, for example, has changed a lot over the years, becoming much more liberal as she gets older. I think a lot of it has to do with the span of time you consider -- change within a short term isn't often very real or deep, but change in the long term can be very real.

deborah said...

Yes--free will allows infinite change.

My personal position is that we are all combos--light and dark, kind and mean, lofty and not so lofty, spiritual and not, physical and not--and who we are depends on what choices we make among the myriad of qualities we already possess.

Yes, you've changed and continue to change becoming better and better (and a better photographer, artist and writer--at the same time)

Love you so much!

Hammer said...

On a practical level, yes, people can fundamentally change. But it requires an openess to change and shifting of identity, and it often takes a good chunk of time. Possibly a drastic event or two thrown in for good measure.

Some folks get stuck in a rut so deep they can't see over the top of it though. Those folks? Yeah, they don't change much. After a while, they're not much fun at parties either.

Chimera said...

I am not who I was...cells change and die. I am not who i was going to be...disability was not on my Xmas list.. but I am still 'me'. My brain has flexed and warped rather but ..still 'me' whomever that 'me' may be.
However, I have read case studies of massive personality change due to accident, illness and possession. Very intereesting to ponder. Can we change completely or are we all just very supple?
T x

H2OK9S said...

Is change possible?
Of course.

Is individual change probable?
I believe it depends on the person and the situation.

Joseph Campbell had such great insight into individual transformation. In his own words, from The Power Of Myths:

"The Hero is found in the ordinary world…In ancient myths it used to be the cottage or village…In films, it is usually the suburbs or common urban environment.

The Hero is making do, but feels something missing from their life...a sense of discomfort or tension.

The Hero needs to change, even if they are unaware of that need.

Something happens…
Maybe the Antagonist enters the Protagonist’s world, disrupting it.

Or maybe someone comes, a Herald, who calls the Protagonist to action.

The call to adventure is about transformation and that’s terrifying.

The Hero has to confront fear.

Will the Hero survive?

Will they change for the Good or the Bad?

During the first half, the Hero is tested…The Hero has to determine the rules of the Extraordinary World into which they are moving.

Who can the Hero trust?

Along the way, the Hero meets “threshold guardians,” people who guard the entrances.

The trick to facing any opponent is to get into their skin, understand their habits...
maybe make them friends and allies.

The midpoint from a mythological standpoint is that moment when the Hero confronts that which they fear most, often related to entering the headquarters of the enemy.

Afterwards, the Hero feels the consequences of the Midpoint…
Reflects on their task, often a chance to rest…Then a chase scene often occurs…

The enemy has been struck a mighty blow, but recovers enough to mount one final act.

A black moment where it looks like all is lost, there is no way to defeat the enemy.

The final test…

To demonstrate whether the Hero has learned his lesson or not…

The process has purified him to ensure that he hasn’t become part of the Other World...but will he succeed?

The Hero returns home with some booty, an elixir, the source of power from the Other World, i.e., treasure, Holy Grail, knowledge, gold, love, wisdom, humility.

In the end, the Hero is a transformed individual."

Reya Mellicker said...

Willow that is music to my ears! Welcome!!

Steve I love that idea of profound change that takes place over time, and Hammer? You're so right that people who aren't "supple" (love that word, Chimera) really aren't too fun at parties.

I love the way bloggers think. Thank you!

lettuce said...

my late contribution is.... oh, dunno! what a good question and interesting discussion

i think change IS possible, even fairly drastic fundamental change. but it depends on so many factors....

and with hindsight, its often possible to say that the change isn't something entirely new, but maybe something that was buried or lost being regained

at least thats what i think i think

at the moment

it might change


ArtSparker said...

Not to change is a heroic (I don't mean heroic in a good way, I mean it in reactive-instinctual-big noise-way) project. Change comes. To resist it it to cling to the idea that you won't die. Even though when things get scary, of course we revert to more primitive modalities for a time. I liked the John Stewart commentary on angry mobs.