Writing a reply to a comment on my post “pressure” with the Billy Joel link, I decided to make it a post. He asked me, “What is it that makes you equate desensitization and “dulling if senses” with mellowing of age?” I’m starting the answer now, and will post as much as I can. But I’ll have to finish later.
Hi Shakti. Thank you for stopping by to make me think. 🙂 My head feeling particularly dull this morning, as though I’m still asleep, I will use your question to help me wake up.
In case I forget –and start rambling about mellowing –I just want to tell you that I understand what you’re saying about rehearsing desensitization. I agree that it is during those times that we tend to let things happen which we regret.
Unfortunately, sometimes people literally get trapped and are basically helpless. At such time, “desensitization” is the only coping tool at hand. The pressure of such an event can be felt long after the event has been resolved –at least, for practical purposes. I think the word “baggage” is not kind to use for such things, because baggage is chosen to be carried forward. In cases such as this, no manner of forgiveness or positive attitude can completely dislodge all the psychological effects of the trauma. You probably didn’t think I was really talking about such urgently appropriate desensitization. More about this later.
I want to talk about “mellowing of age”. That is an expression I associate with people who have always been mean and difficult, but start to sweeten in their demeanor in their senior years. People with personal attributes of paranoia, rudeness, or vindictiveness can finally become tolerant, considerate and humble. It’s bound to be largely an effect of hormonal changes. More on this later, too. (Many old folks become downright gullible, but that’s not at all on the subject.)
Now, “Dulling of senses” is just unfortunate no matter how you look at it. None of us want that. It suggests that we are knives that should have been sharpened, put to good use.
Shakti, in your comment you wrote, “as we rehearse desensitization in our minds, we gain more things to be regretful for in our lives.” I agree with this; however, I do not agree that the regretful things are caused by the rehearsal of desensitization–at least not in all cases.
I suppose the challenge lies in discernment. Can one always discern when desensitization is absolutely necessary? I know first hand that one may not be able to do so. I will admit that in my personal experience, emotional reactions from childhood recur when I have to deal with my mom, which leave me feeling inept as an autonomous human being. I find myself desensitizing myself to what I want to do.
Well that’s all I have time for. Hope it’s interesting. I’ll come back to it, and when I do, I’ll put Edit #1″ etc., by the title. Thanks for reading.