So, I have made quite a few observations recently, and my pessimism has found that no one really changes.
Belief: Reading makes you empathetic.
I find nowadays that people who identify themselves as readers, are too proud and vain about reading. They become “grammar Nazis”, getting pissed at people for not knowing what they know. There are so many popular memes making fun of common mistakes, and all the while being patronizing about it. There are also who identify with the hobby of reading so much, they take pride in their identity, and beat themselves up about not being able to read or not being able to control their book-buying/hoarding tendencies. I feel upset at this kind of elitism displayed. I sometimes also find that people are empathetic only to the characters in the fictional world, and in the real world, they switch back to their views. Actually, it could even be with non-fiction readers, really.
Reading has just become a passive activity. No more is reading an active back and forth with the book. It has just become passive consumption of knowledge.
Belief: Travel helps you grow
I never really understood of travel made people grow. I have never had a life changing travel experience because I am stressed while travelling. I stressed about how the bathrooms will be, if I lose anything, if I miss the train/bus/flight. Plus, I find it difficult to just loaf around in any place.
Out of curiosity and being the one completely disconnected to the allure of travel, I have always asked people who identify themselves as “travellers” and romanticize being a nomad- what is it that they gain from travel? They tell me: you get to experience culture of different place, you get to be in the rhythm of that place, and you get to rejuvenate and to reflect.
Fair enough, I say. But then, none of them return home with “experience”. The travel is so limited to being “touristy”. In terms of “change in world-view”, there is a complete lack of empathy or even, awareness to the disparity of wealth one sees in smaller towns/larger cities, the privilege or lack of privilege you have while going to certain places.. Everything is just accepted at face value. Not to be mean, I also think after the travel is over, one just falls back into the same personal rut. I just don’t accept that travel changes everyone.
Since watching vloggers Damon and Jo on YouTube, I am vicariously living the travel experience through them, and again I have realized, like reading, travel has to be an active engagement with local culture, studying the history of the place and not just visiting the touristy places.
Belief: Persisting with people through rational discussions will change their minds
There is so much online discussion going on, about every issue there is. I like to read comments. That’s one of the time-wasting things I enjoy. But sometimes the comments are so ignorant and hateful, I really have to make an effort to stop myself from trolling old uncles or cursing at young people.
When in a discussion, I am open to what the other person if trying to tell me. But then, I have also realized it has become a game now; a game where you win or lose, you convince or you give up. It really frustrates me that views have to be so polarizing. I have tried to argue rationally and tried to argue emotionally, but I have failed both times and many times. Not to say that, I am always right but I feel people are unncessarily staunch. Their beliefs are entangled to their identity. I have accepted that I don’t have answers many times. Once, in one such “discussion”, my “friend” argued that capital punishment was is right, even necessary, as convicted terrorist are a liability to the nation, and gave me some examples in defence, and I didn’t have an argument against that specific point, which I accepted. (I mention this because I am scouting for a good defense for this point.) But I feel disappointed that people don’t have the same sincerity and the debates continues with circular reasoning and bitterness.
Today, I saw John Oliver’s argument for “pro-choice” abortion laws, and there were still people in the comments being self-righteous. I mean, what else do you need? Someone just made a serious topic accessible, funny and informative and you’re still unwilling to even pause and reflect?!
People don’t change.
I am so bummed out.
PS: I couldn’t find any quotes. Everyone famous believes that other people do change.