I moved to India for three months back in 2004-2005. It was a great trip and I would love to return, but it is quite a bit different from the US. What I found most fascinating however, is how quickly you adapt to the changes.
When we first arrived, it was very noticeable how often they use their horn while driving (driving is more the use of sonar than of vision with writing on bumpers encouraging you to use your horn regularly — “HORN OK!”). After being there for sometime though, it seems like the normal thing to do (and the US suddenly seems extremely boring by contrast).
This process of adaptation though is not something that we notice – it just happens. As a result, when we project backward to how we felt or think about something in the past, we remember always being the way we are today.
After spending some time working in Sweden, my dad came home once and made a comment about an “ad-vert-iss-ment” (English accent). We teased him and he said, “I’ve always said ad-vert-iss-ment”. This resulted in more teasing.
But it’s easy to see how this happens, once you adapt it’s hard to remember a time when you haven’t believe what you believe today.
This should give us caution in making absolute statements about how we felt or what we thought in the past. Our thinking and beliefs continue to progress, but in ways we don’t consciously note. This should give us pause before we proclaim that we have always thought or believed something.
[Related: Created To Perceive Change]