Is ‘Getting Used to’ the Same as Complacence?


It’s strange the way something can start out as intrusive, inescapable, refusing to be ignored, and then, bit by bit, over time, work its way into the background. As you may or may not know by now, they’ve been doing work on the facade of my building. When it started, the sound was so loud, so constant, it was almost as though it was inside my skull.

On and off for the last several months, the noise has visited me, between the hours of 8 and 3, and the weeks stretched on, it’s become less and less, well, irritating. Even now, the whine of the drills seems to either be there or not be there, with it making not that much difference to me.

So it made me wonder about the way we get used to things in our lives, good and bad, as time goes on. They can come to us as irritating or amazing or oppressive, but the longer we have to get used to them, we adjust. The miraculous seems less so; the irksome becomes the something we can ignore.

Maybe it’s simply a function of human numbing. Maybe it’s an a human tendency toward complacence. Maybe it’s a form of energy conservation, because there’s no sense in railing against the things you cannot control.

But then the question is whether we let this reaction bleed over into the things we can control. That’s when it becomes a problem.

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