Friday, 30 January 2015

Seeing The World Through Different Eyes

In recent times, I have had occasion to reflect on how people's world-view shifts over time, and how this is affected by altered circumstances and environment.
Throughout my later teenaged years, and much of the first two decades of my adult life, I very seldom questioned the economic and social systems in which I had been raised, or many of the assumptions on which they were founded. I guess that a bit of ignorance (and youthful gullibility and impressionability) was excusable in the earlier days.  Later, my outlook was I guess a form of defence mechanism.  I had a nice mundane, shallow life, and I didn't want it disturbed or spoiled by any of these new ideas, thank you very much.

So what changed?  Well, the world itself changed a bit, but the real change was in me, my circumstances and consequently my perspective. About five years ago my life underwent a major upheaval, and I stepped off the treadmill which I had boarded after leaving school at eighteen. This permitted me more time to think, to read and to analyse. I was no longer having to react impulsively or defensively to the opinions of others, but had the space to survey the landscape at my own leisure.  Also, as a result of my changed situation, I felt I had less and less of a vested interest in the status quo being maintained, and I became more attuned to the concerns of those less fortunate. The rat race encourages us to be blinkered and self-centred, despite the façade which we may habitually erect for the consumption of friends and social media.

I wonder whether my experience has been the reverse of what usually occurs with people in their adult lives?. Do people normally become more conservative as they get older, cynical and embittered by experience of the real world, and having had the idealism slowly but surely ground out of them?   I have also known plenty of people who evince "concern" for their fellow man, but ultimately the only thing which really mattered to them was whether the value of their own house and share portfolio would continue to rise. Of course, any sacrifices needed to improve the lot of humanity would have to be made by a mythical "somebody else"....

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