The signs are all around that people easily tergiversate from one idea, movement, or group to the next.
In ancient Ireland, mythology and folklore says shapeshifters also had this ability.
Shapeshifters were usually humans who possessed great magic or potions. They could become, at will, anything they wished. For instance, a shapeshifter could be a person one minute, then a winged bat, then a wolf, then back to a person. The shapeshifter would tergiversate between one permutation and another.
To tergiversate is a quite different notion than that of Protean man. Protean man takes his name from the ancient Greek Proteus, an early god of the sea. Proteus could change his appearance at will to suit himself, usually to avoid work or capture.
Protean man likely believes there are reasons behind his changes. That he is altering himself for a reason. That there is an underlying direction.
An example of a modern-day Protean man would be a college professor who decides to quit his job and live off the grid for 10 years. He then wants to become and author and begins writing books. And in his old age he is a devout volunteer and evangelizer of a local nonprofit.
Which of these were the authentic self? It could be argued that they all were authentic. That’s the dilemma faced by Protean man.
In todays’ world, a person who quickly and easily tergiversates between movements likely will not believe or espouse one more than another. These notions of social justice, morality, freedom, etc. will come quickly, and will be adopted just as fast. Not because they are right, but because they are the new thing.
You can quickly turn to a modern social media page. See what your friends are posting. What is the cause du jour of the day? How deeply do they believe? Is it a lifelong devotion, or just the new coolest thing for the moment?
If people could ask themselves if these rapidly-coming movements will truly matter in a decade, we could at least keep our tergiversations to a minimum.