Sometimes understanding comes with time

Sometimes when you don’t understand something, it’s because you’re not ready for it yet. This can be particularly true of fiction and other narrative, but it can be true of almost everything.

Sometimes there are specific identifiable things you have to learn first. Sometimes you can go back and learn those things, and then the confusing thing will start to make more sense.

Sometimes it’s not a specific thing you don’t know. Sometimes it’s mostly just not being ready yet. Sometimes it’s just a matter of giving yourself time and experiencing more of life first. Some things that are incomprehensible at one point in your life start making sense when you revisit them later.

It’s worth keeping this in mind. You don’t have to do or understand everything all at once. It’s ok to give yourself time. Eg: If a book you think it’s important to read doesn’t make sense to you, it may be worth putting it aside for a few years and trying again later. A skill that seems impossible to acquire may become possible later. Or any number of other things.

Not everything is like that. Time doesn’t make everything make sense and it doesn’t make everything possible. (And people who say “you’ll understand when you’re older!” are almost always being inappropriately dismissive.) But it is true of a lot of things for a lot of people, and it is probably an experience you will have at some point.

Short version: Sometimes things that seem incomprehensible start to make sense as you gain more lived experience. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything all at once, and you don’t have to understand everything all at once. Some things take time, and that’s ok.

Autonomy includes the right to be wrong

Irrational people have the right to make choices.

Personal autonomy is not conditional on other people thinking that you are using it correctly.
That’s pretty much what makes it personal autonomy.
For instance, people have the right not to interact with dogs
  • Even if the only reason they don’t want to is that they have a phobia
  • Even if the phobia is completely irrational
  • Even if they would be better off getting over the phobia and learning to like dogs
  • None of this gives anyone the right to make them interact with the dog
  • That’s their business and their choice
People have the right to decide what they eat
  • Even if it’s for ridiculous reasons
  • Even if they think it’s healthy and it isn’t
  • Even if they are in the grip of food fads and think that avoiding the color blue will solve their health problems
  • Even if they’re too religious for their own good
  • Even if they’re picky
  • Even if they’re fat
  • Even if they’re thin
  • Even if they’re being overly cautious about their allergies
  • Even if they are completely, utterly wrong
  • People have the right to make their own decisions about these things
People have the right to end relationships

  • Even if they’re only doing it because of a fear of committment
  • Even if the person they’re breaking up with has all kinds of reasons for thinking the relationship is a good idea
  • Even if they’re going to regret it
  • Even if it’s a stupid decision
  • People have the right to make their own choices about who who spend time with and be close with
People have the right to choose how to spend their time
  • Even if they are wasting it
  • Even if they will regret wasting it
  • Even if they have tons of potential and could be accomplishing so much more if they just applied themselves
  • Even if they watch a lot of TV and have terrible taste in TV
  • Even if they express dissatisfaction with the choices they are making
  • People’s time is their own, and they have the right to choose how they spend it.
The right to make choices includes the right to make mistakes.