Growing apart

Was speaking to a doctor specialising in geriatrics yesterday, and learnt something quite interesting about human development. I don’t really know whether this is a well-known medical ‘fact’ or not, but, according to her, as we grow older, we each become more and more individualistic. In other words, our behaviours become more and more different from one another, and it becomes harder to draw generalisations.

What is the context of this observation?

Take infants for example. In general they make noises when they are hungry or uncomfortable, and no one will dispute that certain typical behavioural patterns can be expected when they are 1, 2, etc. Then there are certain patterns to the behaviours of teenagers, such as discovering the opposite sex, “crowd” pressure, and so on. However, by the time we enter middle age, then old age, due to the education we received, the social environment we are in, etc., or, in short, our whole life’s experiences, we inevitably develop many idiosyncrasies. We will react to the same situation in likely very drastically different ways.

Consequently, this seems to imply that we were indeed very alike when we came on to this world – as far as social behaviours is concerned. After that, day by day we are growing apart. It is our interaction with the outside world which changes us, for better or worse. So, to all those who thought that we are all born different, think again…

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