February 22, 2019

Food for Thought

The older you are, the bigger your repertoire is of the things you can enjoy from your past. Think of the music you love. As you listen to more and more pieces of music, eventually, there would be no need to listen to anything new as you would never get bored of replaying what you have already heard in the past. Sure enough, according to research, most people’s tastes for music stop evolving in their 20’s. They just keep listening to the same bands and musicians for the rest of their lives. The same applies to lots of other things. People stop trying new types of food. They stop learning new computer programs. They keep using the same tools even if they become obsolete. They stop making new friends.

On one hand, it’s good to know who you are and stick to the things that come naturally to you, not having anything to prove to yourself and others, but on the other hand, this can be a defense mechanism for the inability to learn new things. I’ve noticed, for instance, that some of my friends would get annoyed if I suggested a new technology to use.

I see the problem of “gentrification” but at the same time, many older people complain about it simply because they don’t want to learn anything new, and want everything to stay the same. As they say, the only constant in life is change; if you refuse to change, life will paint you into a corner.

When we are young, we psychologically attach to the future; we do everything in anticipation of what is to come. As we get older, our attachment shifts to the past; we do everything in the hope of repeating the past, the same familiar comforts. Although we tell ourselves to “live in the moment,” we actually have no idea what it means because meaning is an effect of differing in space and deferring in time. There is no way to understand “now.” Our thoughts cannot attach to it, only to the past or future.

Both past and future are in front of us now. Attachment to any of it would make it impossible to enjoy it.

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