It’s rather remarkable how adaptive we (as human beings) are. I’m not speaking only about our geographic reach, as expansive as that is. I mean just about anything and everything. All so quickly, things, situations, systems, dynamics, societies, and etc all begin to feel normal. And not just normal, but everlasting, intrinsic, and even right. Like that’s how its supposed to be. And like how there’s no way it could be any other way.
Which, of course, is caca. If there’s one thing for certain, it is that things change.** We are always, ongoingly, creating ourselves, creating our communities, creating our systems, and creating our culture. When we get lost in that feel of normalcy, that’s when we can get stuck creating the same thing over and over and over again. Perhaps inadvertently doing so, but the effect is the same. Inside the rut, possibility is greatly stifled.
That said, again of course, it’s not bad that we are so adaptive! It’s great that we don’t smell the sewer after a few minutes. Or that the lake stops feeling cold after jumping in. Or that great shifts soon feel much less disruptive.*** But, like just about everything else that comes with being human, there are aspects of it that are empowering, and aspects that are disempowering and even destructive.
By remembering this great capacity of ours we can remain mindful to see where we’re letting something slide. Where we’re giving things that are harmful, or don’t work work, or aren’t right or just or equitable or verdant, or anything of that sort, giving them the automatic pass and thinking “well, it’s just how it is.” Or, worse, getting caught up in it all and doubling down on it.
Here’s where we can step out of the adaptiveness ruse. Nothing is inherent. Nothing is intractable. We hold the agency for ourselves and who we are being, for our relationships, and with the communities and societies we ongoingly build.
* From the frigid arctic to the intense deserts, all without the use of what we consider “modern and necessary technology” – which is a whole avenue of exploration in of itself! But to quip shortly about it here, we have done a lot and even thrived with just our wits and less fragility… AND that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s the same main thrust of this post: we’ve become accustomed to and thus adapted to a very narrow temperature range, and anything outside of those bounds feels like death.
** Not always for the ‘better’, which is another reason why this feeling of normalcy can be so deleterious, for it will allow the ‘little’ normals to become ‘big’ normals very quickly, and if those little normals are not great, then the effects and harm also spread and become widespread.
*** To whit was how, in short order, the way of working, remembering my mask, new ways of communicating, and etc all due to the pandemic started to feel most normal.