Okay. But what about personality? An individual’s personality is a constant through this crazy physical-anatomy turnover. Right?
Personalities are influenced by situations. And people’s responses will change as situations act upon them over time. Our own beliefs and our own shared situational experience cloud how we judge personalities. But we so desperately want to categorize others that we only pay attention to the consistencies and we ignore the inconsistencies.
Well, this is all fairly terrifying. But what about memories? Memories stay consistent throughout a lifetime. Right?
Emotionally significant or traumatic flashbulb-type memories are essentially inerasable, but even they drift as much as your daily memories do. In fact, every time we think about memories, we corrupt them. It’s like making a copy of a copy. Or, playing the game of telephone. We drop details and fictionalize facts over time.
So, what does this mean for the basic human need to seek stability and consistency?
That likely won’t change, but we can decide to embrace the chaos and use it to our advantage.
Our brains seek patterns and once we’ve learned a connection we tend to overlook things that vary from that. Brains are lazy, and they skip forward to conclusions. The challenge is to teach ourselves to unlearn patterns and accept inconsistent information. In every facet of life, there is an illusion of continuity. We want to think that we, and others, have a consistent identity. But, clearly, we don’t. We’re changing all the time.
Once we accept that our own perception is untrustworthy and that the only real consistency in the world is change, we can use our perception to affect positive change. Here are some ways:
Check out the transcript from the NPR segment that inspired this post. I had seen pieces of this information before, but never in one place with so many layers.
Originally published at intrinsicalities.blogspot.com