The Creeping Normality Effect
Image from Web
Have you heard of Easter Island? Its the most remote inhabited place on earth. It has nearly 1,000 statues, some almost 30 feet tall and weighing as much as 80 tons but mystery about where did the people who built it vanish is a great one. If you want to know more about it you can read here. The leading theory is that the society collapsed centuries ago – after islanders over harvested the island’s palm trees. The trees were used to move the massive monolith heads to higher ground. Overharvesting led to proliferation of rats. The rats ate the seeds. Then trees went extinct. Without the palms trees, the islanders couldn’t build canoes to fish. The islanders had to hunt birds. Birds went extinct and vegetation stopped getting pollinated. With their food source collapsed, the population eventually died. How could the islanders not see it? Because it was a slow moving disaster. This is what Creeping Normality Effect is, which is effecting most of us. Giving my own example, I can’t tell a specific date when my health became bad and I was almost obese. I let my health collapse day after day. I let it deteriorate slowly and I didn’t realize. 99% of people will change if it happened overnight. Whether your health or toxic relationship or air pollution or plastic in drains, all are the results of a slow-dripping poison. We slowly lower our standards. We continually increase our tolerance for misery. Nothing becomes terrible overnight. Beware of downward slide. Stay aware. Have you allowed this creeping normality effect into your life? Take U turn before you get to the point of no return.
There is no universal truth
In the picture below most adults will see two lovers. Most kids will see 9 dolphins as they don’t have the experiential context to see the lovers. Each person in this world is not you. There is no universal truth to any moment. It’s all perception and individual experiences.
Image from web
It means that each of us lives through a unique set of experiences, values, and moods. Reality tunnel is a theory that, with a subconscious set of mental filters formed from beliefs and experiences, every individual interprets the same world differently, hence “Truth is in the eye of the beholder”. Most people don’t get this. They choose to judge each other over trivial, brief encounters that are devoid of context and understanding. The next time you are frustrated with someone: remind yourself that they are not you. Don’t Judge and assume.
The Hedgehogs Dilemma
Hedgehogs hate the cold. Yet they must endure winter. To do so, they often huddle close together to share body heat. But as they come close to each other, they prick each other with their spikes. They separate but because of the cold, they again slowly try to adjust by minimising the pain, forced back together out of necessity. We humans go through the same. We long for deeper connections.Yet by allowing people to get closer, we risk being pierced by their words and behaviours. The people who reacted most strongly to rejection (being pricked), were the least likely to come back seeking warmth. They suffered even further in their solitude. Optimists overcome that pain and later find joy and comfort with others – despite being poked. The more you love someone, the more you’re at risk of heartache. The more you open up, the more likely you are to break down. Loneliness is a lethal wound. Any human being will do all that they can, to avoid it. In an effort to stave off loneliness, they will gather, and that increases the risk of friction — annoyance, aggression, even suffocation. These evils are byproducts of basic human nature, and they are inevitable.
This is where we notice the importance of boundaries. We need a safe distance, as the hedgehogs do. This safe distance lies in “politeness” and “good manners” — a capacity to recognise each other’s boundaries and respect them.
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