Sunday, March 16, 2014

Indelible Ink

I have long been fascinated by those who cling to the theory that human beings are capable of change.  I find it stunning - well almost - when those doing the clinging are articulate, educated and otherwise well-reasoned people.  While we are a species capable of evolving (check yourself for primordial ooze output if you believe me not), change and evolution are not the same. 

Human beings are animals.  Animals are creatures of habit.  When in doubt, those of us of a human persuasion favor familiarity over that which is far less so.  It was Einstein who observed that insanity is merely doing the same act over and over and wishing for a different result.  Who coined the phrase, "The Devil you know is better than the Devil you don't know?"  I know not.  But I am willing to wager he or she was a member of the tribe and not a dolphin or a squash or a peregrine falcon or some such thing. 

We are who we are.  And try as we might we cannot change our DNA.  The factory-installed wiring stays with us from birth canal to bone yard regardless of the shape and form that its carrying case takes on from year to year.  Oscar Wilde once wrote, "No Man is rich enough to buy back his Past."  True enough.  He might have added, "....nor fast enough to outrun it."

I bristle a bit any time my daughter Suzanne - who is one of the four or five most brilliant people I have ever known - refers to me as being "on the Spectrum".  I bristle because I know that she, the resident genius, is of course spot-on in her assessment of the old man.  I have now - as I have always had - an ability to focus intensely on a finite amount of things simultaneously, almost to the exclusion of everything - and everyone - else around me.  I am not a "casual" kind of guy.  Never have been.  When I am in, I am all in.  And if you and/or what it is you do are of little to no moment to me, then I am all out.  Not surprisingly perhaps (and not at all if you have ever spent any time in my company), I am a man of scant few friends.  It is an arrangement that works to the mutual benefit of me and the world at large.  In close to a half-century neither of us has voiced a dissenting word about it.  I anticipate that streak shall continue for quite some time. 

Life is too damn short to waste the indeterminate amount of time allotted to each of us to waste chasing fables.  We are who we are.  We can - and should aspire to - build the best version of ourselves we can off of that blueprint.  But we should not dedicate a moment to trying to breathe life into the fantasy of "the changed human".  Of course, it matters not what is written here - or anywhere for that matter - on the subject.  What matters is what is written in your heart. 

The ink is indelible. 


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