A Rambling Post About Transformation

All my life I’ve been fascinated by the concept of transformation. In my early years I found the concept frightening – Doctor Who or the Daleks never disturbed me, but I could never watch the old Hulk series with Bill Bixby turning into Lou Ferrigno – I think it was the idea of letting something out, turning into something new, that upset my innate need for stability. But then, desirable transformations didn’t upset me at all – my favourite piece of childhood entertainment was, after all, called Transformers.

But as time has passed this fear has turned to fascination, until now I derive much joy from seeing different forms of transformation, be they into monsters or superhumans or anything else. I think that’s why, much as I love the western superhero tradition, I spend so much time watching eastern heroes like Kamen Rider – when the hero goes into battle, he literally transforms into his alter ego – rather than being the same person in a spandex suit, he gains new strength and new abilities and, in some cases, literally a new body.

I think this love of transformation is also what attracts me to writing fiction and stories – in the end, every story is about a transformation, be it a transformation of characters or a transformation of a world. Even if the hero or heroine awakes to find their experience a dream, they seldom walk away unchanged.

Personal Development, a recent interest of mine that precipitated the creation of my blog Hifelacking, is a further symptom of this deeper interest, and perhaps deeper need. I’ve been listening to a lot of Tony Robbins stuff lately, and he often talks about change itself taking only a second, something that reminds me of David Hume’s Bundle theory of the Self – the notion that a person is not an identity, but a loosely aligned collection of perceptions and experiences, and that identity is made up from these perceptions. All this means that we are all transforming from moment to moment, shifting being that only perceive a single identity.

Which is pretty cool.

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