As we grow older, we seem to tend to confuse the different dimensions in which we experience life. We seem to assume that the more years we have seen, the more experience we have in dealing with people. We seem to forget that it only means that we have, perhaps, only been dealing with the same people over and over. We seem to forget that these people do not make the world. We seem to tend toward a narrow point of view.
We seem to consolidate our emotions and represent them collectively as our personality, believing that these are unchangeable. Believing our interpretations to be objective. Seemingly wallowing in a self-assumed God complex, but remaining in denial.
I am of the opinion that you only grow old, when you stop being curious. Several seem to share that view, and it is oft-repeated in self-help/growth books. I found myself wondering why, today. Perhaps, it is because we stop registering the world through our semantic memory system, which is arguably the only ‘objective’ view, and start interpreting the world through our ‘episodic memory system’, which views every moment as a collective experience, calling into the experiences of the past as well. For instance, as babies, we view the world through our semantic memory. The curtain blowing in the wind does not automatically mean a storm is coming. It does however, mean that the curtain moves out of its normal position and seems to flutter momentarily while being held in place by a rod at the top.
That’s when curiosity is aroused- the curiosity to ask, why does the curtain blow only sometimes, while remaining at rest, otherwise? That leaves us with several options. Perhaps, it is the wind? Perhaps, the curtain is designed to be that way? If so, what could be the purpose of such a design? Perhaps somebody is doing that on purpose to entertain the baby? Jumping to a conclusion is relying on past ‘experience’, and relating the occurrence to larger, probably physically inconceivable, whole. It is the proverbial leap that does not necessarily follow a ‘look’.
Similarly, why does a friend suddenly lose his temper with you? ‘It is because he hates you too’, screams the episodic memory, which has consolidated all your experiences with an abusive loved one during childhood into one marathon-like episode, and is now projecting a similar image onto every other person you meet, even outside of that environment during other times of your life. Perhaps, it is because your friend is having a bad day. Maybe, your friend has been trying to tell you something. Chances are that your friend trusts you most with his emotions and felt comfortable enough to vent.
Therefore, it is important to broaden your worldview. Talk to more people. Visit more places. Widen your perspective to accommodate the possibility that you could be wrong. Know that you are not omnipresent, and that you have only known the world from your point of view. A point of view that is constrained by space (length, breadth, and height) and time. The latter stored in the memory, which admittedly fades. The interpretation could have lent to a viewpoint, which could have formed at a point in time when poor judgment could have been exercised by yourself or the various parties involved in the ‘episode’, which cannot be viewed in isolation, because time moves in a linear motion. There aren’t isolated blocks of time periods. In fact, the present is, in effect, an effect of the past. However, the present does have the power to influence the future. The past cannot be changed, but the present can, perhaps, be lived more consciously and deliberately so as to avoid repeating the mistakes that have reaped the moment at hand.
While grasping the above, I realize that there perhaps IS an objective reality. An absolute truth. What that may be, is irrelevant for the moment, because to seek it, it is first important to seek in myself, the ability to respect and understand each and every other point of view which exists parallel to my own. These are the alternate universes. The worlds of as many as there are people around me. In that lies the realization that although reality itself may be objective, the ignorance of it does not invalidate the point of view of a person, who is seemingly, beyond his control, facing constraints that hinder his view of it. So, beginning to objectively view reality is acknowledging that there are several facets to the stories spun about it. Fairly simple, and taught to children, yet in time, we muddle it all up and give into the notion that maybe, just maybe, we might be all-knowing.