Leopard by Petr Kratochvil
Can leopards change their spots? Even though this is something which I really do not know the answer to, it’s definitely on my mind. Of course I am talking about people here, because I’ve often wondered whether they can really change. There was an old friend of mine who always used to say that people do not change, and I used to hotly debate this point of view because back then I was of the belief that anyone could in fact change. As much as I would love to say that I’ve held the strength of that conviction, it just wouldn’t be true.
Over the years, it seems as though a person’s inherent character is fairly static. Before anyone jumps on me, I should clarify a little bit. We have all heard of and maybe even personally known people who had done terrible things or had heavy duty addictions and turned their lives around. This used to be my proof that a person can change and I held that as an absolute truth…no matter what. Maybe I’ve become jaded, because now I look at those fine examples and see a person who was always of decent character who had gone astray instead of thinking that we are all capable of changes on this grand of a scale. To take that even further, I guess that maybe what has changed is that I no longer necessarily equate behavior with character. They really are two different animals. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things…we all know that.
What I’m saying is that I’ve come to believe that there is that part of each and every one of which is permanent and therefore does not change. At least not in this lifetime. It seems as though the test of time is the only accurate gauge when it comes to this sort of thing, because some people are very good at seeming as though they have changed for a really long time. After a while though the truth of character always wins out and it cannot be masked forever. Why am I even writing about this? Because no matter how old a person gets, it is still disappointing when we see this leopard thing in action with people who play a key role in our lives.
I’m also writing about this because I see this as not only a purely physical and mental human issue, but a spiritual one as well. The reason for this is that I have a real dilemma when my mind goes into the question very deeply. I’ve always believed that we live this life to learn, grow, and improve at our deepest level. Where the problem for me comes in is that when it seems as though people really do not change at the deepest level, how would anyone be capable of that learning and improvement? What would be the point then, if we just are what we are with little variations and adjustments but no real change? What a mind screw this is when I think about it. I just do not know the full answer to this issue. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that no one really does.
All I do know for sure is that I still believe that the point of this life is to become the best that we can mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Maybe some things are simply impossible to figure out and all we can do is to keep ourselves on task with our own work…keeping our heads up and doing our best not to let the negative energies of those perpetuating poor behavior and making bad choices drag us down. Anyone out there have any thoughts on this? If so, I would love to hear them.