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To what extent can a person really change?

 
 
faiazk
 
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 06:27 am
To what extent can a person really change? I mean, can a person change completely? or is there a set of unchangeable characteristics that define a human being, that is encoded within him, every change in personality only being possible when it complies with that certain set of characteristics? been wondering about it.. anybody knows anything about that?
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 5,522 • Replies: 21
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 06:48 am
@faiazk,
One view:
Quote:
The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution and The Cosmology of Man's possible Evolution, a limited edition of the definitive text of his Psychological and Cosmological Lectures, 1934-1945. Agora Books, East Sussex, 1989. ISBN 1-872292-00-3. Online
0 Replies
 
A Lyn Fei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 09:30 pm
@faiazk,
You may be interested in the field of Neuroplasticity. My view- a person's personality is basically determined by the age of 22. This is when the brain's seems to stop, though it does not entirely do so. Personality, I believe, is a condition of chemistry and biology. Who someone is does not really determine their personality. People don't change. They are who they no matter what their decisions are or how their personality, or their response to the world, is. I know I can't change myself, no matter how vast the measures I take in trying.

A Lyn
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2010 11:03 pm
We can change the way we think and feel about ourselves. Say, your parents relayed to you, over and over again, that you are dumb, stupid, stuck-up, ugly, etc. At least people would see you differently should you work on yourself a bit (counseling, falling in love with someone who gives you courage to be yourself, education) and treat you differently. That could change a person from being fearful to even becoming very successful, or showing signs of being a hero.

I agree, however, the basic character is always back in the mind somewhere, but, you know - feel the fear and do it anyway.
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Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 12:34 am
@faiazk,
My answer isn't particularly philosophical, nonetheless, I find myself formulating my response in a pretty abstract way: I don't know that there is such a thing as a fundamental self, but I think that "selves" consist of finite networks of psychological factors. I think that this finite network has a limited capacity to generate and exercise different relationships between these factors, but that these relationships are also ultimately finite. So while one might change oneself to a degree, that degree is limited by the existing contents of the network.

To finish my post a little less abstractly: While I think that the degree to which we can change ourselves is pretty limited, I think that we can be changed by circumstance. (New "factors" can be introduced via experience.) And even in our limited capacity for self-generated change we can knowingly place ourselves in situations that might change us.

In other words: Yeah, kinda what Pemerson said.
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hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:29 am
I am a 100% believer in Redemption, so of course a person can change...
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:52 am
@faiazk,
faiazk wrote:

To what extent can a person really change? I mean, can a person change completely? or is there a set of unchangeable characteristics that define a human being, that is encoded within him, every change in personality only being possible when it complies with that certain set of characteristics? been wondering about it.. anybody knows anything about that?


His DNA is something he cannot change. He cannot change who his parents are, nor his genetic endowment. But everyone knows that.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:58 am
@A Lyn Fei,
I'm not sure I'm going for the chemistry and biology thing, and I think you might be contradicting yourself a little when you also say personality is pretty much set by somewhere around age 22. I do agree with the latter, though.

Anyhow, we can change somewhat in attitude, but personality seems a bit more. Surely, if we are forced into a mold, we can spring back to shape with darn little notice.
Pepijn Sweep
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 02:36 am
@kennethamy,
This also is true for turtles so does not prove a human cannot really change.
DNA Not Equal genetic Question

We can learn from languages, other cultures, religions and incorporate this new knowledge in our minds settings. To understand the world and her people better, changes the way U think I think.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 06:46 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep wrote:

This also is true for turtles so does not prove a human cannot really change.
DNA Not Equal genetic Question

We can learn from languages, other cultures, religions and incorporate this new knowledge in our minds settings. To understand the world and her people better, changes the way U think I think.


How does it follow that if it is also true of turtles, that it is not also true of human beings? It is also true of turtles that that have to eat to keep alive. Does that show it isn't also true of human beings that they need to eat to keep alive? What is true of turtles need not be true only of turtles.
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:23 am
@kennethamy,
True, true, true. I feel a real turtle now Embarrassed

I wanted to say humans can learn very well and th√Ęt creates the possibility to drastically change his behaviour.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:53 am
@faiazk,
faiazk wrote:

To what extent can a person really change? I mean, can a person change completely? or is there a set of unchangeable characteristics that define a human being, that is encoded within him, every change in personality only being possible when it complies with that certain set of characteristics? been wondering about it.. anybody knows anything about that?
St. Paul changed from a persecuter of Christians to the destroyer of Christianity...That is the sort of radical change that is seen in people, from day to night...
What people can change is their behavior, and in time their behavior will change them...What the Muslims have said: that if you would change the world, first change yourself is true, because to do so one sees the very problem one must overcome mulitplied by the number of people on the earth...It is not easy to change, and reason does not change people because what people are at any given time is true, and in accordance with every notion they think is true...Reason hits at a single brick in a wall having much support...

The real way, almost the only way to make people change is to make them feel different... That is why art has been such a powerful force in history, because it talks to the emotions... When change is presented it must be offered as a complete package, and this is why mass movements have had their success, because people unhappy with their lives are all inclined to lose their individual selves in movements larger than their own petty lives...As in Christianity when people are born again; but people often do find their old selves in the new... So Jesus attacked the power structure, the form of his religion and for that gave his life, and then came Paul who built a whole new form that in time took lives as easily as the old form...

The usual way people change is to change their forms... Their nature, what they need to survive cannot be changed, but with a new understanding, a new form is found; and history has been the exchange of old forms for new within which people have remained unchanged... We change our forms so we will not have to evolve... We adapt...
0 Replies
 
A Lyn Fei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:44 am
@roger,
Perhaps I can explain better. In my opinion, how a person reacts to the world is determined by their biology and their environment (nurture and nature). However, because a person's brain slows down so much it is much more difficult after the age of 22 to alter how they react to everything. How they react to things is what we see of them- their personality. With work or trauma this personality, though rare, can change. That does not change who the person is, which is a distinctly different idea than how they react to the world, because we cannot see who a person is, only their personality. I guess I am talking about a "soul", but I wish I had a more reasonable term for it. Perhaps core values makes more sense. Say a person changes their views from Democrat to Republican. It usually is due to new information or a new experience, not because they have actually changed, but because they are simply reacting as the person they are to new stimuli.
0 Replies
 
blancasag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 11:13 am
@faiazk,
Hello Everyone,

As this is my first post i wanted to take this opportunity to say hello and have an outstanding day.


As to the question at hand,

I would say that the biggest change a person can make is changing the way they relate and apply the situations of the world to themselves. Aside from things like DNA (which, like a previous poster has already stated is not able to be changed) people are very much changeable. However, i would say that there are certain human characteristics that, while they might be able to be changed, are going to take a lot more focus and time. An example, in my opinion, would be the human instinct of survival. Is it possible to rewire one's self to not have that primal drive that kicks in during the most grueling circumstances? Possibly. However this isn't something that's going to be as easy to change as, say, the way we feel about a particular individual.

Just my 2 cents
A Lyn Fei
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 12:24 pm
@blancasag,
See but, how would you tell if a person has really changed? If you "see it" then that's just them changing their personality. They may not have changed, merely new information has created a different interaction with their environment.
People do change when they have cancer, but this is due to a biological change and can thusly be proven.
0 Replies
 
faiazk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 12:46 pm
thanks guys for your varying views.. but since none of you named any source to your opinions, I am still in the same pickle as before.. i was hoping someone could provide me with hard facts, results of study or research rather than just individual opinions.. But I do appreciate them all the same.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 12:50 pm
@faiazk,
faiazk wrote:

thanks guys for your varying views.. but since none of you named any source to your opinions, I am still in the same pickle as before.. i was hoping someone could provide me with hard facts, results of study or research rather than just individual opinions.. But I do appreciate them all the same.


Is there anything wrong with reasoned argument being the source of our opinions? After all, even if we cited other sources, wouldn't you want those sources to have reasons (preferably good reasons) for their opinions?
0 Replies
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:04 pm
@faiazk,
Personal experiences are a valid source of information !
0 Replies
 
faiazk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:25 pm
@ kennethamy

Yeah, but these are matters of psychology, and without proof backing up your reasons, they are nothing more than personal opinions, are they? I mean, we all view this world, its people, ourselves in different ways, and then give other people reason ( correct reasoning) for those views, but are all limited by our capability of understanding. I was looking for a scientific explanation, which is more dependable.

@Pepijn Sweep

And one's personal experiences aren't really valid source of info either, since what we view as complete change may be adhering to the basic characteristics as well, but a person who does not know wat his basic characteristics are won't realize that.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 05:52 pm
@faiazk,
I supplied you with a source that starts from the "self observation" available to all but rarely practised.

The only "hard facts" you are likely to find are those concerning trauma to the brain. If interested, look up the history of pre-frontal lobotomy and E.C.T.
0 Replies
 
 

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