1. According to Manasclerk, people grow along different trajectories — I think he’s mainly talking about mentally, but that would include psychology and emotions, too, and would affect things like spirituality and philosophy.
People tend to feel most understood by those on the same trajectory, even if they are at different points along the path.
People on different trajectories tend to misunderstand even when they think they get it — his illustration is one person saying “I’m talking about these six feet” and the other person saying, “Yes, those two feet are important” — the other person simply doesn’t see the other four feet, no matter how the first person explains.
He seems to think there’s not much hope for what I would consider real relationship with people on other trajectories. Instead, the “higher mode” person (his language includes things like “higher” and “bigger” even though he insists it’s about different, and not about better) has to swallow or set aside or ignore those four feet and essentially deal with just the two feet the other person can see.
Some of what he says seems to fit with my own experience — and yet it just doesn’t seem right. And it certainly doesn’t seem very hopeful.
2. Another friend and I were chatting about something else, and I mentioned that I didn’t think people really change. Not in the essentials — if you’re a detail person, you’ll always be a detail person. If you’re not, you likely won’t develop an eye for details or a taste for them.
She thought that’s a horrible thing to believe, and to pass on to my daughter.
Later, I wondered — what if my daughter was dating a felon with multiple repeat convictions? Wouldn’t my belief in essential non-change be good, because it would motivate me to warn her about what she could (and could not) expect from such a man?
Even a less dramatic example. What if her boyfriend merely had some really annoying habits, or differences of values — those are unlikely to change, too, and she can’t go into the relationship thinking she can retrain him to be more like what she wants.
2.5 Habits. With enough repetition, passion, commitment, etc, it seems possible for people to form habits and break others. Is habit-forming an essential change, or a surface change? Does it change the heart? Can it? What role does habit-formation play in spiritual growth, sanctification, overcoming sin, or what-have-you?
This is partly why I lean more towards Calvinism than Arminianism. If I recognize that I am powerless to produce essential change in myself, than I am also freed from the burden of hopeless trying. I can instead trust God to do the change, and apply myself to my own work with a sense of freedom instead of obligation.
I can think, maybe depression really IS an illness, or physiological syndrome, at least, and not something that can be completely overcome by the process of habit-formation. Maybe it really is true that my depression is not the result of my lack of faith, or failure to pray with the right attitude; my faith may be lacking and my attitude may stink, but I’m not completely left on my own to do all the work of fixing those problems.
3. Change can alienate. Another posting of Manasclerk’s mentioned that following your true calling can alienate you from the respect of important people in your life, but that you end up finding other important people instead.
Another friend was talking about Wal-mart, and another about vegetarianism, and others about getting more green.
When I consider another little step in the green direction, or in the direction of knowing where things come from and buying accordingly (i.e. not supporting companies that rely on child labor or unsafe working conditions), or in the direction of spiritual growth, or in any other direction that seems wise and good and necessary, I worry about how it will affect my relationships.
I want to do what is right and good and true, but I don’t want to make myself even more difficult to be with than I already am. I don’t want to be one of those extremists that normal people look askance at and stay away from. To some folks, I already am.
What are your thoughts about change?