I was roaming aimlessly through the television guide late last night and happened upon a show I had never heard of, so I tried it out. It was called Big Rich Texas. At first glance I thought it was a spoof of faux reality shows like that Real Housewives series. By faux reality I mean staged and edited to within an inch of its real life. I kept expecting Amy Poehler to appear. It just seemed so utterly ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly be real, even the faux real of a reality show. But apparently it was not a spoof.
I sometimes wonder… if I lived as they did, in the same social sphere, the same location, would I be as they are? I probably would. I may not want to be, I may not be that internally, but externally I would probably mimic my peers.
Our environment does influence who we are, often more than we realise. Humans adapt to their environment and circumstances, it’s part of our survival instinct. So we become who we need to be to live in the place where we are, and deal with the society surrounding us. Even if underneath we are not the person we pretend to be, we pretend because otherwise we might be ostracised, and that is counter-productive to survival.
If we took those people in that show and placed them in an entirely different environment… not all together, because they would huddle in a group, forced to unite under adversity, and remain as is, using each other to reinforce their version of reality… separately, in different social, economic and cultural locations around the world. Would they change and adapt. It might take a while, but they probably would.
Now that would be an interesting show, but it would have to be done over a period of time, and they would have to cut all ties with their present version of reality. I know they have sort of done similar shows, but the people in those shows always knew that it was a temporary placement, and so they did not need to adapt because they would be returning to their reality once the filming was over. And they often had access to family and friends who reminded them who they were in their world. So, no need to adapt or change, in fact, every need to remain firmly entrenched in their version of reality and the person they have created to live in that version. Because they know they are going back they must remain the same, otherwise they would not be able to return. For when we change, and return to the place in which we were before we left and changed, we find it impossible to readjust. It can be done, but it is never the same.
That sort of transition does happen quite often when people choose to relocate, especially to somewhere very far from their location of origin. After the initial discomfort of the move, and the trauma of everything being different, the human gradually adapts, or realises they can’t deal with the new environment, homesickness engulfs them, and so they return home.
Relocation is a useful device when trying to effectuate a change. It is easier to become detached from the person we no longer want to be when we detach from the place which supports that identity. Which is why many people seeking change, cut ties with old friends, with family, with the past by packing a bag and leaving, never to return. Which is why when someone moves away, they are no longer who they were. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes very clear. That is why long distance relationships don’t always work. Whether that is because two people met in one place, then one moved away, or because they met in separate places and one moved to be with the other. Location, environment, and the social influence of the place is absorbed by the person, and changes occur. Sometimes those changes are wonderful… sometimes they are not so appealing… it all depends on our perspective and our version of reality.