The Guardian

Do people change? You asked Google – here's the answer | Eleanor Morgan

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries
‘If the essence of a person is their personality, can it really be understood in terms of befores and afters?’ Mr Benn, 1970s cartoon adventurer. Photograph: David McKee

Give a person the right resources and, within an hour or so, they could dramatically change their physical appearance. They might dye their hair or shave it all off. Change the colour of their eyes. Wear a prosthetic nose. Fake teeth. Seven-inch heels. The list of potential superficial transformations is endless.

But if we go beneath the skin into our psychic architecture, is it possible to change the joists, supporting walls and foundations or who we are? What we believe, value and aspire to in life? How we behave, patterns we form? How and why our hearts break?

On many levels, it’s easy to just say “yes” to this question. The stages of a child goes through before the age of 11 reads like a mini lifetime. Our entire emotional landscape

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