Choices and Adaptation
It’s not hard to figure out. Any of it. What I mean to say is this: from your earliest memories you learn tiny skills, bit by bit, until you’ve mastered what it takes to survive. But as you grow older, more demands are put on you, and you must learn to adapt again, learn new skills, until you have mastered them and are able to both survive and carry the weight of new responsibilities.
Well, there comes a time when you are faced with a situation in which you need to adapt, not necessarily for survival, but for the sake of comfort. And in this situation you are given a choice of how you can adapt to this situation, creating a fork of sorts in your path through life. These choices happen all the time, and come in greater quantities throughout the years. Once you make your first free choice, that choice affects all latter choices that come after it. And each choice continually influences the next.
The very basic of choices, the ones made earlier in life, are made generally in the same ways by the majority of people in a culture. Children choose what things are comfortable for them, what friends are comfortable to be around, and what situations they feel they are most comfortable in. And once deciding on these, they invariably strive to pursue these things that make them feel most comfortable. This is where sub-groups or sub-cultures come from. Within every culture, people with similar likes and dislikes ban together. An easily identifiable example of this is gangs. There are gangs based on race, creed, location, and all other variety of things. People within the same culture are never identical and therefore find groups in which they can openly practice their ideals and beliefs.
An exception to this is conformity. When people find their ideals don’t match those of the majority around them, they tend to adopt the belief system of that majority. A situation where this is most prevalent—though it happens everywhere—is in the social hierarchy of a school, where popularity decides importance in society. This creates a game-like situation of sorts, where there are set rules the player must follow in order to gain “points” or “social status” in order to move up the hierarchy towards total popularity. This is a situation I, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), have never understood. I am of the firm belief that one should be fully who they are, and not let other’s dictate to them what they should be. But again this is only an example. Conformity is everywhere, and is practiced in all situations, even in my own.
Conformity comes from a longing to belong, to not feel left out, or even despised by the ones you may consider important. Conformity is a form of adaptation, and it does work to an extent, but always at the cost of denying some part of yourself. This part of you that is denied is not destroyed, but rather, it becomes dormant and unused. In the first stage of life, that is, infancy to adolescence, adaptation and growth come from the mimicking of others. An infant cannot survive on its own, but in a family situation, it picks up the language and mannerisms of the people around it.
However, once this adaptation has come as far as it can, the child reaches a stage where it must question these things it has learned in order to decide if the value that has been placed on them by others is accurate. This is the point in which the child begins to make choices on its own, deciding for itself what roads should be taken. These early choices have a profound affect on the child’s development through puberty and early adulthood. Initially, few choices are demanded of the child, however these choices have greater consequences on the future. Eventually, the choices required of the person begin to increase at an exponential rate, and relatively the consequences of these choices on the person’s psychic development decrease.
An inertia of sorts is formed as the load of choices increase, and often one will find that an early choice made has propelled him down a path so fast he can’t get out of it until it has fully run its own course, and to be pulled out of the situation prematurely can cause a great deal of pain, stress, and or damage. Here we see the laws of physics applied in an abstract way, outside the physical universe.
As there are sub-cultures and groups within society, so there become sub-groups within choices. These sub-groups can also be described as stages within a person’s life. There are times in a persons life, where they look back and reflect on their past, and realize how much they have grown, be it good or bad. One usually only takes note of the larger stages, but there are sub-stages of these stages as well, and they all have an affect on where the person is at, at the time of reflection. In each of these situations, the same relation in choices occurs. Beginning with small, sparse, initial choices that expound into a great deal of choices until the situation has reached a resolve or conclusion.
All things are connected in this way, continuing from the simplest of forms to the overall complexity of the universe. Take life on earth for example; it began with a few simple organisms that began to multiply and multiply until there were many and new demands were asked of them so they evolved into new forms that multiplied until they could no longer meet the demands set upon them. And eventually the first human beings were formed, and they no longer needed to adapt physically to the environment but rather adapted their behaviors using the power of their intellect. And the first conscious choices were made.