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Discussion Starter #1
Taking the question in whatever context suits you,
Do you think that people can change?

Discuss. :)
 
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Taking the question in whatever context suits you,
Alrighty then.

From one angle you could say that people never stop changing. Life is a mess of new experiences and sensations (although with some repetition) which we are constantly bombarded with, causing shifts and changes in our personalities and mindsets. I think it was Heraclitus that said you could never step into the same stream twice so I'll say you'll never meet or be the same person twice.

From another you could say that we all potentially have core pillars to our personalities and psychology which hold up the entire conscious mind. These could be preconceptions, prejudices, iron clad beliefs or delusions. For whatever reason they can't be taken down and in times of adversity or when the 'superficial' personality you have developed (the top layer) fails you, then you automatically fall back on the core structure. I remember reading a book a couple of years ago about human nature and its implications on international relations theory. The crux of the guys argument is that the brain tries its best to conserve energy by creating these emotional models for behaviour that can then be applied in similar, future situations. Say for example someone threatens you with physical violence and your knee jerk reaction is to attack them. The other person beats you to within an inch of your life and walks off. You've learned that to respond with violence in that situation will probably get you killed, so in a similar situation in the future you will (without any conscious thought) apply this emotional model where you back down.

Or you could simplify the whole thing and just say: Tch. People, huh?
 

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My MBTI type never changed but just about everything else did.
 
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when they want to. my mother has tried to get my on diets from a lifetime. the only times i did lose weight was when I decided to do something about it. Not her. Some people fail to see the problem. i fail to realize my life; love, social and health, would get better with a simple 180 lost..

No one is a fan of hard work that has to be done for a long, long time. losing 180lbs isn't overnight and not dont in one year either. It takes at least a year and a half....not to mention the extra skin.

people decided their own lives. no one else, even if it is out the kindness of their heart.
 

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Would you say you have ever changed?

In which case, I don't know whether I have. But I really like this one Theravada Buddhist understanding; 'While everything changes, it's very hard to change a person.'
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@AverOblivious

I like that answer. :) I don't know whether I have, either. I don't know if it's really possible to know that 100% unless you're faced with a difficult situation that places you maybe in a similar spot to where you were years ago? Depends on how we're considering "changed", I suppose.
Growth, of course, people grow, people obtain scars. In general, I think people continue to attain new things, good and bad, for their whole lives. I wonder, though, about certain behavioral things - The whole concept of "growing out of" some things that seem at the time to be pretty fundamental. Do you grow out of things, or into them? Hmm.
 
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People are, I think, in some ways compelled to change.

When they don't, they stagnate and fail to adapt and survive.
 

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@AverOblivious

I like that answer. :) I don't know whether I have, either. I don't know if it's really possible to know that 100% unless you're faced with a difficult situation that places you maybe in a similar spot to where you were years ago? Depends on how we're considering "changed", I suppose.
Growth, of course, people grow, people obtain scars. In general, I think people continue to attain new things, good and bad, for their whole lives. I wonder, though, about certain behavioral things - The whole concept of "growing out of" some things that seem at the time to be pretty fundamental. Do you grow out of things, or into them? Hmm.
That's a good question. But then again, can't they both happen at the same time? Like if I grow out of watching Rules of Engagement, that's because of the show getting bad imo, but I can grow into watching Sherlock because it has an intricate plot line and makes me think. Like you said, it depends on the individual, and as an individual I would desire something that is more mentally stimulating like Sherlock. Then the question is from what do we desire what's mentally stimulating, and that depends on what I've preferred in life and how I've lived I guess.

Just to throw another buddhist teaching in, questions about growth and life do not end and will always change and that is why it's good to know that everything in life exists in extremes. You must drink a certain amount of water everyday to survive, but if you jump into the deep end of an ocean you may drown. That's why it's best to take the midway between two extremes, because extremes of uncertainty around growth can lead to confusion regarding where you are in life, and meanwhile extremes of knowing who you are, can lead to some form of inertia or boredom with life; where you have everything you need from yourself. Both extremes oppose the growth being looked for in the process of growth.

The initial question can also be more pragmatically about how after people become hurt, they want the individual who brought that hurt to them, to somehow change. This sort of hurt can be found in an abusive relationship etc. In which case, by expecting other people to change, we are responding to someone's bad persona by cultivating an equally worse persona that does not accept other people for who they are. What we truly want here is justice for being hurt by changing those people who hurt us, but the thing is, they cannot take back the hurt that they ensued. So real justice, is in doing what they didn't do, and living with the hurt and this is just enough, because one would be accepting things that the individual who hurt them, didn't have the courage to accept.
 

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People change whether they like it or not. Some people try to change things about themselves and succeed. Some people go through bad experiences and trauma and come out the other side broken or stronger, but changed in either case. Some people change because they don't do anything. Life changes you and in trying to change life you change you. Maybe imperceptibly, maybe becoming the opposite of what you were. Either can happen, and to an extent I've seen the latter in myself, or I like to think so.

Who here is the same person they were five or ten years ago? Are you? I'm not. I wouldn't even recognise myself if two-years-younger me met current me, and I hope younger me would be impressed in a few ways. For one thing I'm a little bit taller.

An analogy I came up with for people changing with age or otherwise (I apologise in advance): think of a blacksmith, hammering out a blank of steel into something. Young and fresh from the forge, it has shape but is malleable. As it cools it becomes more rigid, but even after it's cooled you can hit it with a hammer and leave a dent and change it forever. And whatever tool it is, it will become worn and dented and changed just with age and use anyway.

I would not want to meet the person who does not change.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's interesting to see all the different interpretations of this question. :) Everyone seems to read it differently. I appreciate all of your answers.

What are your thoughts about people's moral compass / ethical alignment changing?
You could take this any way, maybe for example rehabilitating criminals - Is it possible? What about liars / cheaters? Is honesty something you learn? Is a social conscience something that develops and grows stronger / weaker as you progress through life?
I mean it's one thing for a little kid to get caught stealing in a store and get so scared shitless that they never do it again. Do you think things work like that on a larger scale, too? We generally accept that people can go down the tubes and become dishonest and unstable if they undergo a bad experience. Can it work the other way around, too? Can someone who was once dishonest or cruel have an experience that changes them completely? Or do they just learn to adapt because they discover that their dishonesty is inhibiting the attainment of their perhaps selfish goals? I guess that's what I had in mind when I asked this - Do people REALLY change (for the better?), or do they just learn how to play the game?
 

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There are changeable and non-changeable aspects to every person. The interesting classification is of the things that are mutable and the things that are immutable, both objectively (applying to humanity as a whole), and subjectively (applying to your personal situation). Confidence, for instance, can change for every person but many people have difficulty increasing their confidence because of their environment, their particular self-paradigm, or other matters that affect their personal situation.

Ethics is definitely something that can be changed objectively, but people tend to get stuck in a certain perspective that doesn't easily get dislodged. Young people are impressionable and can be instilled good ethics by role models or moral fear, but the older you get, the harder it is to be impressed enough to have a paradigm shift. Generally speaking, the older you get, the less you change.
 

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Taking the question in whatever context suits you,
Do you think that people can change?

Discuss. :)
People can change, in fact change is one of the constant things in life. We change whether we like it or not. We age, we constantly react to environment, etc. In terms of personality, we can change but only to some extent, and only when we are ready to change. This is generally a good thing. People changing their core personality very easily could go psychotic because it is through our personality and our values and belief system that we view reality. Too much change in those areas or too sudden and too deep of a change can be catastrophic for our psyche. That's why we resist.
 
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People change all the time due to a variety of internal and external influences over the course of our lives. If you define that as the answer to the question whether people can change, then the answer is yes.

However, can people willingly change? That is much less obvious. In practice it turns out that our faculties of will, especially consistent will, are extremely limited. Gurdjieff in fact taught that we have practically no unitary will at all and that we need to become self aware to begin the process of acquiring such unitary will.
 

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After a certain amount of time, I don't think most people can change who they are deep inside. I, however, do think many of them can change their behavior.
 

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I think that people change all the time, with every new thought they get and every new experience they have. However, as time goes by, every new input you get will change you less and less because they have to work against the combined force of all the other impressions you've collected up until that point.

That is not to say that the older you get, the harder it will be for you to change, but rather that it will be more difficult for new experiences to have as great of an impact on you. I also believe that people (either consciously or sub-consciously) have the ability to resist a change, but only by means of repression, and that sort of approach will only allow the "change" to build up more and more force until it finally breaks through and thereby making it more noticeable. That's my explanation for how you can have these life-changing moments, they're simply just the final drop^^
 
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