Do People Change?

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Unmaskd Tales, what makes us tick
Tags: , , , ,

Do People Change?

A man came to see the world famous sage Puram Bam. He found the sage in his small bungalow, reading a thick black book.
“Oh wise sage,” he said. “I need your help!”
“Do you?” asked Puram Bam, his eyes on the thick black book.
“I don’t know how to live my life anymore!” said the man. “I know that I’m capable of great things and yet everything I’ve ever accomplished has been mediocre at best! I dream of glory, but my existence is dull. I set out to achieve brilliant things, but I settle too soon. I’m always busy, yet so little gets done. I get richer, but feel poorer. My face smiles, but my soul cries. I’m suffocating! I feel that I’m not living the life I was created to live.”
“Do you?” asked Puram Bam, his eyes still on the thick black book.
“I need your advice,” said the man. “How should I live my life without feeling that I’m wasting my years? You’re so wise. Please help me!”
Puram Bam looked up.
“You’re a smart man,” he said. “You already know the answer. People don’t change.”
And he returned to reading his thick book.
The man’s face became red like a ripe tomato. He stood up.
“I see,” he said. “Thank you for sharing your wisdom, sage.”
And then he left. Now his face was white as stone. And there was cold fire in his eyes that hadn’t been there before.
Years passed.
One day the same man appeared at Puram Bam’s door again. He looked at Puram Bam who was reading a thin white book. He smiled.
“I came to thank you,” he said.
“Did you?” said Puram Bam, his eyes on the thin white book.
“You probably don’t remember me, but years ago you said I would never accomplish anything. I’ve proved you wrong.”
“Have you?” asked Puram Bam, his eyes still on the thin white book.
“Yes,” said the man. “Yes, I have. When I left your house I was angry. Angry at you, angry at myself, angry at the entire world. But soon I realized that anger would not get me far. I wanted to show you and myself that I could change. And so I stopped doing what didn’t matter, and I let go things that meant nothing to my soul, and I started to work harder than I had ever worked in my life. And every time I was about to give up or settle for a mediocre result or let go my dreams, I heard your words ringing in my ears. People Don’t Change. But they do! I’m living proof of that. I have accomplished great things, I do what I love and I no longer feel that I’m wasting my time. Now I’m living the life I’ve always felt I was created for. I’m living every moment of it and this is the best feeling in the world! And I feel like I’m just getting started. So I came here to thank you and tell you that you were wrong about me.”
“Was I?” asked Puram Bam.
He looked up from his book and said, “Squash a caterpillar — and it will never become a butterfly. Yet it is born to be one. People don’t change.”
And he went back to reading his thin white book.
Advertisements
Comments
  1. S.A. says:

    is that the post , thast u had the dilemma of posting or not ?

    Like

  2. Love it ! 🙂

    *My face is smiling but my soul cries* #themask

    Like

  3. …that would have been a complete give- away had you posted that in your *Un real* name

    #peopledontchange

    Like

  4. LT says:

    I can see how some folks would see such a story as a hopeful note about the human condition; in other words, if we can just apply enough strength of character, will, and stubbornness we can become what we are meant to be. It conveys the spirit of strength in the face of adversity, the bootstrap entrepreneurial attitude that everyone wants to have.

    Respectfully, I think it’s a false hope, though. There are some things that people simply cannot work through. As smart as they are, as hard-working as they are, as determined and stubborn, they will fail. Whether it is circumstances beyond their control or within their control varies.

    I have my own beliefs about why that does not mean there is no hope, and where strength can be found when you have no strength left, but I do not believe it can be found within oneself. We are all damaged. As inspiring as such a story seems, I believe it is an unfortunate notion, because the fall is even worse when you believe you have to do everything on your own and your burdens become too much to bear.

    Like

    • Unmaskd says:

      We all base our beliefs on our experiences and observations. Mine lead me to the conclusions in the tale. In many cases we cannot win in circumstances that are beyond our control. But when we deal with things that we can control, it’s all a matter of will. At least, that’s the way I see it.

      Like

  5. S.A. says:

    its a very beautiful story , sometimes some people need a little push forward to achieve great things or to realize what make them happy . i agree with puram bam ” people don´t change ! the man in ur story thought the he was born to do great things yet he look around and everything that he accomplish was nothing compare of what he could really do , the problem was he was focusing his energies in things that was important .

    Like

  6. ….for those who are set to make a difference it is a *positive* that people dont change! With the full potential to be a butterfly any attempt to squash you will fail.

    You won’t change… for you are destined to fly

    #someare #somearenot

    #peopledontchange

    Like

  7. […] Do People Change? « Unmaskd. Share:E-mailFacebookTwitterVind ik leuk:LikeWees de eerste om post te […]

    Like

  8. joyce turtle says:

    Have to say that I think you have lead a very sheltered life.If all you wanted out of life was fame & fortune.With this comes stress and why the hunger to become famous.What is it in a person that they need to be adored and think money can buy happiness?How do you measure success?Success is measurable by what one expects of oneself.A poor family living in a slum would be happy to have a home.An orphan left on the streets would be happy just for a meal that day.I am well traveled & have seen many things.You would not feel a disappointment to YOURSELF if you saw a bit more of the world.That is what it boils down to.What YOU expect from yourself.The goal in this life is to be content with whatever life throws at you.People can and do change going up or down in the world because circumstances and opportunity play a massive part.Yes a caterpillar is born to be beautiful, but to me,your photo of the iguana just roaming round and basking in the sun is a wonderful sight of freedom and beauty.Sorry to waffle on but sometimes you need to look around and not be so into oneself.Having said all this I find you whoever you are a very interesting but complex person.Love and best wishes ,a nobody that matters

    Like

    • Unmaskd says:

      Your comment made me smile. You have no idea how ironic some of your statements about my life are. That said, I agree that everyone’s definition of success is different. I disagree however with this part: “The goal in this life is to be content with whatever life throws at you”. This is what life often comes down too. But making this its ultimate goal would make you question the whole point of living. There’s more to life than just dealing with whatever it throws at you.

      Like

      • joyce turtle says:

        Oh yes,I agree.Sorry.I meant.as in dealing with whatever life throws at you.while you try to reach your goal.Maybe the moral of my lesson here is “one should not assume” by for now

        Like

  9. Dawn says:

    We don’t change so much as we evolve into what we are meant to be. You will never evolve if you focus only on the negative and refuse to push yourself forward to reach your goals. If you focus only on the negative you will never be happy.

    Like

  10. Heart to Heart says:

    Until now I’ve kept quiet reading the recent thought provoking quotes and blogs from Unmaskd which are always very interesting about life. Actually I anticipated a serious blog post concerning “change” based on the dilemma faced which blog or both to post here as stated yesterday. Maybe another will appear? Better to hold off adding my full comments until then, just in case.

    Like

  11. Lisa says:

    Either i am incredibly dumb or this is just weird. Is the lesson in this story that we don’t change, but if we put in the right kind of “work” we become who we are meant to be? I feel so unenlightened. And what’s the deal with the thick black book and the thin white book?…Anything?

    It seems as if the man in the story had to have changed on the inside to become what he became on outer. Did he just harness capacities which were just laying latent inside?

    Like

  12. iAM says:

    So are you saying that the sage squashed the seeker by telling him people don’t change?
    That the seeker did all that work and actualized himself for all the wrong reasons, to ‘prove’ himself to another (instead of doing it for the pure joy of it) with anger and resentment in his spirit? Thereby squashing the freedom and beauty of natural self-propelled evolution?
    Is destiny selected, sought, or served? Are not those all similar?
    Tonight I started playing with the idea that within each person lies the full spectrum of personality.. Success, sarcastic, sweet, vengeful, jealous, weak, interesting, compelling, intelligent… the list goes on. And that most people only ever handle a handful of these elements within their persona in a lifetime.
    But it’s fun to know that if you have at least once seen it, it too exists in you. For those able to transgress past mere experience into allowing all potentialities to reveal themselves… They go from the big black book to the thin white book…

    Like

    • Unmaskd says:

      Long ago I decided not to comment on the meaning of my writings. Not because of arrogance, but because I believe that reader’s interpretation is as important as mine, whether it’s the same of not (more about it in this post). But I have to say that I’ve enjoyed reading your interpretation — it’s really good. Plus, it’s nice to see that you’ve picked on the whole books theme.
      As for this part
      >> Is destiny selected, sought, or served?
      it’s all of the above. We seek our destiny, we believe that we select it to some degree, but we get served is just as unpredictable as life itself. Yet, feeling of being in control — if not of your fate then at least of your actions — is something that makes life so much fuller.

      Like

      • ….Yes absolutely…but you know what is also cool?

        In those horrible moments where things get soooo out of our control that we can do nothing but *surrender* to it all… ?

        It is then so cool when Destiny/God/Fate steps in and produces such immaculate timing and integration of events…that we couldn’t possibly have made it up if we tried !

        That indication that there is someone or something who or which knows best beyond ourselves is sometimes (if not always) a great comfort…

        …and in these moments it can not possibly be a wish projection thing…because the circumstances are so tricky that any *projection* of an unreal hope would just evaporate as a form of self delusion…

        …these *epiphany* moments are real & raw… Miracles really!

        Like

    • Lisa says:

      I should have made myself clearer. It’s odd that out of anger the seeker was motivated to do the things which would bring him happiness. How can one be truly happy if s/he is holding anger and resentment in his or her heart? The seeker could/would not let go of his need to “prove” something to the sage. This was the fuel which compelled him to actualize his potential in certain areas of his life, while simultaneously making him a slave to the opinion of another person. He still was not fully self-governing.

      Like

  13. Mary says:

    It’s true. Some people will just never change and then that leaves this question; If it wasn’t for those who serve as “bad examples”, how would we possibly see how good the good ones really are?

    Like

  14. Lisa says:

    Sarah, I can see that for sure. What concerns me is any amount of vested energy he may have to “get back” at the sage by proving himself. Perhaps certain types of anger and defiance are good.

    Another “seeker” might have taken the initial response from the sage and felt defeated. (Hey “God” has spoken) Not this guy.

    Like

    • Well if he flipped into that *other* mode of white hot focus…he wouldn’t so much be carrying the *get back at the dumb sage* element… so much as instigating the self-inflicted challenge of *do or die*

      …. The sage visitation gets the seeker to stop asking questions and just DO!

      … The moral of the story is (perhaps?) NOT to look for answers external to ourselves but to engage the rubber with the road and embrace the journey…

      …The sage was probably being deliberately annoying …knowing it would spur the seeker to greater action

      … More so than if he said … *Oh yeah sure…you are gonna inevitably gonna crack it into the big time* … I can’t think of anything which would leave the seeker more flat….it would only lead to more questions…How? When? etc… and of course procrastination…

      The sage challenges the seeker to ditch expectations and to carry himself through to the goal

      The sage enabled the seeker to harness his inner strength and resolve… to tap into that force within.

      The seeker knew all along that this was dormant within him and he was simply looking for a way to harness its power… he found it!

      Like

      • …the switch from the Black book to the White book is a symbol for the seeker that the sage already *knows* that he has achieved his inner Alchemical transformation (from caterpillar to butterfly) …all by himself. (the only way it can EVER be achieved)

        The sage knows exactly what he is doing when he says *people never change* …he is challenging the potential for change which lies within each of us (if we choose to undergo such an initiation)…

        Like

  15. Lisa says:

    Is there a delete on this thing? Wanted to take out the sentence above about “getting back to prove anything”.

    Like

  16. Mary says:

    Re: The caterpillar. “Nothing that is really good and God-like dies.” ~Ernst Moritz Arndt

    Like

  17. S.A. says:

    Unmask i have a question for u , if u don’t to answer its alright .
    if the old man didn’t said to him that people don’t change , and said something more pleasant , would he act the same way and change his life the same way that he did to prove to the old man that he was wrong ? or continue in empty place where he didn’t feel happy ?

    Like

    • Mary says:

      S.A, I hope you don’t mind if i share my thoughts on your really good question. I think that healthy “antagonists” in stories are important to help characters challenge themselves for positive improvement but persistant cynicism that depletes someone’s hope is villainous and not healthy at all, it’s detrimental and leaves a bad taste behind in the end, happy endings are always a wish for almost everyone, are they not?

      Like

  18. S.A. says:

    hi Mary ,
    everything you said have a point , and i agree with u , but when i made the question is not to validate any type of situation that put people down , every one wish a happy ending and every one deserve one . imagine u know that u can achieve great things , but some how u end being lost the way , how another person can help u to find the path that u want and need to be happy ? the help depend of the type of person u are , some people need a challenge to get back of track , like the old man said ” people don’t change ” some need to know that they have the support of the love one , every one is different , that’s what make us so unique .
    i hope u understand my point of view and don’t miss interpreted my words . 🙂

    Like

    • Mary says:

      I do understand you and I truly hope that I didn’t, in your eyes, misinterpret your thoughts. The bottom line is, if we are to engage in reverse psychology, it must be in a way that will help someone overcome their own self-imposed limitations, not to discourage them to the point where they lose confidence. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and time with me. 🙂

      Like

  19. Sunshine says:

    This is just too weird NOT to post. Last night before going to sleep, my phone was acting up and I didn’t want to forget what I wanted to share in response to your tale, so I jotted down my thoughts on paper about your post which I will share in a minute. This morning I woke to the ending of a dream. I thought, this is too weird that I dreamt about my reply to the post and I better write down what I remember of the dream instead of going back to sleep so I tried to express in words what I saw and write as much as I could remember of the dream. I’m going to stop with that prelude and tell you my odd perception straight out of left field about the tale and then end with telling about the strange dream.

    I admit this is far fetched but I’m letting it out. Here is one of my two perspectives—I will type up the other within a few days. This tale is about a son and his father. The son makes a choice and goes off and lives his life the way he thinks will make him happy and the father lets him while resigning on trying to persuade his son otherwise. The son comes back to the father and says, “I did it my way dad, but I am not fulfilled and I need your advice how to find meaning in my life”. The father is a little bit stubborn and prideful in his relationship with his son, but respected and full of insight and the son really thinks his dad is wise and knowledgeable. The father looks at his son and tells him he is a smart man and proved himself to do what he set out to do and that within himself he has the answers for his life and that he does not need his fatherly advice because it was not taken when he wanted it to be. He did state that people don’t change. The son felt angry that the father would not give him the answer to fix his life and he thought in going to his dad, it would please his father and show an effort to repair his disobedience to his father’s advice. The son was angry about some of his choices, angry about everything and had to work out all the things that kept him from feeling fulfilled inside and then went back to his father years later. The son said, “I’ve changed inside dad, I made it work better than before and I feel more fulfilled and good about what I’m doing now. Thank you for not giving me the answer for my life. I figured it out on my own and I have truly changed for me and for you. What do you think about that dad?” The son thought surely his father would be proud of him and accept his choice now.

    The father again discounted the son’s effort and choices by basically saying, squash a son’s spirit and you will never please me whether you think you know what’s best, you didn’t do it my way and I cannot accept that and the son felt rejected once again not feeling as though he had his father’s approval. The father will never truly understand his son and his son will never truly feel as though he has pleased his father and it crushes the son. The son may never change but neither will the father. The son loves the father and the father loves the son but the son needs the father to admit the son made a good choice for his life. The son’s choices hurt the father and the father’s lack of belief in and approval of the son hurts the son inside. The son will never feel he has viscerally pleased his father even if the father says he is pleased, the son won’t truly believe it and will need to hear it over and over and over in his head because of the belief that people don’t change instilled in him by his father. If only the father would focus more on the good in the son and the son would play back in his head what he needs to hear from his dad. He would never disrespect his father but what pops in his mind out of a sort of defeat is, Wham Bam thank you man! the son felt like his life was f*cked in regard to his father’s opinion no matter what he did or said, whether change occurred or not.

    If you don’t think my interpretation is strange, get a load of this dream. (The only reason I’m posting this in hopes that my interpretation is even a little bit accurate and the dream is an extension of that which gives you resolution somehow if you have something to resolve).

    A week ago I watched “The Tourist” and that is kind of the background setting. It would make sense that my brain would make you be that character because you are “masked” and I don’t know what your face looks like but you didn’t look like Johnny Depp, weren’t wearing a mask but your face was not revealed nor did you have a name, just your presence was represented in the scenario. I was in the dream to help you find the answer and I did not have a name nor was my face revealed, but I was me and you were you. The “movie” in my dream was not black and white, but most people were dressed in black and white…it had very mysterious lighting. I was helping you escape your parents. They were searching for you because they knew how to get into your mind with their words and they were almost haunting you. They wanted to help you but hurt you at the same time, not intentionally. They were chasing you. (All kinds of cool stunts and escape mechanisms occurred.) There were a few people along the way that helped find the ways to escape showing the secret passageways. Your mom was far behind and couldn’t find you. One male family member was at an escape entrance way which led to ending the chase. Just before your dad almost reached you, your right hand man pulls up in this thing called a helio just below the edge of the balcony which has broken stone rails. Your right hand man and I are not wearing black and white. The helio has helicopter type feet and is just a platform with one controller. Your right hand man is laying down so as to not be seen in having brought the helio to the rescue to transport us to safety. We step on the platform while he is securing our feet, he hands you the controller to fly the helio. It is the first time I am on a helio and I feel the wind on my face and the sensation of flying just a few feet above the water and it’s better than being on a boat, it’s freeing and exhilarating! The three of us arrive at an island. The island is a beautiful, peaceful place with a gentle breeze and the most beautiful shades of blue water with flowing white curtains on a cabana and palm trees, you could feel the soft breeze flowing in the quietness and stillness. You have a heavy sadness about your dad that you can’t shake because you may have escaped being somewhere else but you were still held captive. I tell you that your dad wants to hear you say the words, “I made the wrong choice” and he wants you to embrace him. You say, “I can’t honestly say that to him just to please him and make him proud because it’s not true”. I say, “regardless, you need to go and face your dad and tell him, let him know how you feel and what you need from him even if both of you will never agree on the choice”. You leave the island and you find your dad and you talk and you hug him having finally understood and broken free from the hurt.

    Oh good, I’m still on the island and I get to ride the helio! What a fun, interesting, bizarre dream huh? Thank goodness this is an anonymous blog! I knew I unlocked my imagination, but yikes who knew it would start coming out in my dreams too! I should have realized whatever the last part of my day is, often gets incorporated into my dreams. I’ll be more careful not to write about your posts before going to sleep! I swear I’m never eating a black bean taco for dinner again…well maybe only if I want to ride on a helio! This thing needs to be invented, it was so much fun! I googled the word helio to see if such a thing existed and it showed the word helios which had to do with greek mythology which I never studied and it made some sense in regard to the dream. Now that felt a little cryptic! Okay, maybe it was that book I recently read, “The War of Art” and little muses were all over the place while I was sleeping? I hope no one interprets this dream to be something super weird or I think I’d feel so shy for having opened up but I’ll just categorize the dream as art for which one does not have to explain or defend in letting it exist freely.

    The information in this dream will now erase itself from this post in 10 seconds, 9…8…7…6…5 (prepare for destruction of information transmitted)…4…3…2…1 Erasure begin…

    (why is it still here?)

    Oh well, have a great day! :o)

    Like

    • Sunshine says:

      You know, in hindsight, I didn’t look at my response past my own nose, thinking I had a new perspective, discovering a message within a message. I once wrote a lovely fictitious story only to later realize what my story was saying revealed so much more to me as if I let go subconsciously underneath the well thought out story. I thought maybe this might be the case with your story but that is far too judgemental for me to decide what your story means for you and as the reader I should only see how it penetrates my thoughts about my life. Will you forgive me for crossing the line of trying to read into something that is clearly not there nor none of my business. Please delete my entire response if you care to as I feel it is a horrible insult to your beautiful tale.

      Like

      • Unmaskd says:

        I don’t mind having your previous comment on my site, but I’m not going to respond to it either. If you would like to remove it, let me know.

        Like

      • Sunshine says:

        As I was growing up, I realized that doubt is a very useful thing. One of my internal mottos I came up with and that helped me make some good decisions has been, “when in dogut is never more than once.

        Like

      • Sunshine says:

        Oops…this phone! That’s…when in doubt, don’t”. On several parts doubt warned me but I thought the wham bam part was a clever play on words in going to bat a third time. The problem with the post is that it is too invasive and assuming and needs to go. If I ever want to write anything worthy of being posted or published it should be about fictitious characters or myself. Like the most clever humor, it goes to the edge but it does not cross the line or offend anyone and I think that’s the way writing ought to be too. Please delete because my gut when in doubt is never wrong…I was wrong in my choice to post and have learned much.

        Like

      • Sunshine says:

        Okay, I understand this post is not as offensive to you as I thought. Leave it as is if you want and on the site. I am fine with what you decide as maybe it really is not as judgemental, assuming and invasive as I thought but rather letting it be what it is comfortably finds itself okay in this place.

        Like

  20. Sunshine says:

    Finally, it hit home…Puram Bam is right–people don’t change. The most important point in the tale is about the caterpillar. Although a caterpillar is born to become a butterfly, man can squash it and it will remain only a caterpillar. However, even if the caterpillar metamorphizes to reach it’s full potential it was created to become, it will always be a caterpillar at it’s core and nothing can change that (nature in it’s noninterrupted state).

    Like

    • Sunshine says:

      (this phone screen gets stuck!) Continuing…
      So if man is like a caterpillar born to become something better (a glorified version of himself, able to “spread his wings and fly” in his life), he too can be squashed by man whether it is by others or himself. Therefore, he will always be who he is at the core and that will never change. Maybe it takes building a chrysalis which allows transformation to occur in a set amount of time before he emerges to let his wings dry before he flies to live life in his potential after a metamorphosis has taken place. When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the outward appearance isn’t the only thing that changes…there are several things that change (the butterfly has different needs and abilities which changes how a caterpillar with wings lives in a world that is seen from a new perspective). There os so much more we could talk about in great detail comparing the life of a man in relation to a caterpillar metamorphizing into a butterfly and how the aspects of one’s life are affected and what change is, what potential is and how to attain it while being a caterpillar at the core always, living within a lifespan.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s