Have you ever found it unfair that people put you in a straitjacket and failed to recognise your complex personality? Have you ever truly tried to change one part of yourself and managed to do so? Do you perhaps value intent more than actual results?
This post is about all that. About the fact that everything ‘human’ or social is dynamic. We know it for ourselves, yet, we tend not to acknowledge it for others. We tend to see things in static ways. We tend to judge, to put people in boxes and state that they act and that they are ALWAYS like this or that – as they act or are at the time we are observing. Making dangerous universal rules out of singular events.
Nothing could be more wrong. If we fail to recognise that every human develops actions and engages in social interactions in a non-static way, we do not give ourselves the credit of learning, of intent, of drive and inspiration. We are not robots, we are living, changing beings, following the multi-faceted and not-so-straightforward pathway of our life. We are all in perpetual transition – the ‘life in perpetual beta’ dear to Harold Jarche.
Even our cultures keep changing, so does our language; they reflect new conventions, adapt to novel situations and newly felt needs. That is the beauty of it. And this is also why I personally really don’t feel comfortable with the concept of civilisations when talking about current human groupings (though I have no problem talking about it for past phases of human history in a given context) and why I will never accept racism – we all come from a common cell too and like that cell we keep on changing and recombining ourselves.
Back on our individual behaviours: we may do things wrong, we might make mistakes, we perhaps miss the subtle and smart ways to perform a task or behave in a certain way. But we are trying. We are learning. We are adapting and changing. Even when we are deeply convinced that what we do is right and everyone else is wrong, we are not immune to external stimuli of change – ideas, questions, criticisms, intuitions, emotions… It might even be the moment when we are about to change our state, somewhat following the behaviour rules of a complex adaptive system. So, even in the thickest of our convictions, when we appear as rocks and blocks to others, we are changing. Our intent might guide us from inside, or those stimuli might pull us towards change from outside but, unless we follow a strictly codified dogma that prevents us from questioning parts of our path, we are moving ahead.
We are all following, sowing and reaping the seeds of change, and so are others around us. So let’s stop judging people and putting them in straitjackets on the basis of who they (always) are – because who they are is much influenced by what they do and what they do keeps changing, dynamically.
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