The School Newspaper of Flint Hill School

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P.S. Positivity: On Change

Illustration+by+David+Bonazzi
Illustration by David Bonazzi

Illustration by David Bonazzi

Illustration by David Bonazzi

By Tara Monjazeb, Co-Editor-In-Chief

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“Do I dare / Disturb the universe? / In a minute there is time / For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” – T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Most of us tend to resist change. We have been taught to embrace security and stability for the vast majority of human history, for fear of breaking something yet to be built. We are reluctant to face the unknown. So, we sit in our respective boxes, believing that the status quo has forever been settled, that human beings have fully mapped the range of the possible. To those who think this way, anything successful beyond this range is unfathomable. As a result, we are wary of creativity and imagination. New ideas have either been done, shouldn’t be done, can’t be done, or are just plain ridiculous. Thus, we sulk in the shadows of the norm, refusing to accept any other kind of darkness.

However, it is proven scientifically that we become very absorbed by novelty. Our innate desire to experience new things is actually quite powerful. A 2006 study reported that, when exposed to new and unfamiliar situations, the levels of dopamine in the brain increase, yet people still displayed signs of external discomfort. There is a roadblock in the brain, the fear we feel in facing the unknown, that prevents this drive. It develops during our teen years, when our childlike curiosities mellow out and we are more acutely aware of the fickle realities surrounding us. We immediately retreat back into where we are comfortable.

We are familiar with many things, and we can rely on their respective outcomes to fit within a definite order that we have come to assume. We identify, classify, and characterize everything we know into this order. If there are things we do not know, it is simply because we cannot place them. But they have a place, for these orders are all-comprehensive. Thus, they specify our fears and guide our actions. When we are placed in an environment that disrupts this order, we become anxious and fearful. We are afraid that the universe is too fragile; that the glass door separating us from whatever lies ahead can easily be shattered.

Our reactions to the unknown can be separated into two categories: fear and hope. There is a line between the possible and the impossible. Hope crosses this line, fear does not. When we fear, we are limited by the possible, frightened by the could be’s and the would be’s. The impossible doesn’t frighten us, but rather causes us to dream and move towards change with optimism. However, under the shock of an experience that shatters this scheme of order, the dividing line can fade, and indefinite fear can invade our bewildered souls. We must replace this fear of the unknown with curiosity, approaching the possible with the same hope and enthusiasm that we do with the impossible.

 

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P.S. Positivity: On Change