Diaries Magazine

Changing Your Mind

Posted on the 06 June 2022 by C. Suresh

"If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything." I read this somewhere on Social Media and was surprised. I mean, the people who changed the world had, hitherto, seemed to me the sort who were convinced that only they were right and, if the entire world disagreed with them, it is the world that was insane.

But, yes, there was a grain of truth in that, certainly. If you cannot see the world in any manner other than your own, you can be as certain as you please that the world is insane but it is most likely that it is YOU who will be in the straitjacket. To APPEAR sane to the world, it is necessary that you see the world from other points of view, if only to know how to convince the rest of the world that you are right. (AND, make no mistake, you will have to CONVINCE even where it is a matter of saving THEIR lives. The essential rightness of anyone's position does not shine out with the same luster in other people'e eyes.)

Of course, to start with you had to have changed your mind. After all, if you are currently not a mental clone of your parents, if you have radically different beliefs from the people around you, it MUST have been because you changed your mind about the world from what you originally had been taught to believe. So, yes, unless you CAN change your mind, you cannot change anything.

Changing your mind about beliefs that are based on some facts are relatively easy to change. Once you are exposed to new information. (Yeah, yeah, I know that nowadays the new information that floats around can confirm ANY belief since facts are as easily manufactured as opinions.) Which is why, when it comes to scientific hypotheses, modifying them in the light of new facts is relatively easy. (Stop carping, will ya? I said RELATIVELY. I know that even scientists can hug their beliefs and cherry-pick their facts to suit.)

It is the beliefs that have very little or no factual basis which are difficult to dislodge. Given that the belief exists only because we have always believed in it, the tenacity of the belief is astounding. Like, hey, I shall get innumerable houris in Paradise if I do this. Like, eat this and you are condemned to everlasting damnation. I mean, hardly anyone can come back and confirm or deny them, so no facts CAN emerge to change the belief. (Though, I am reasonably sure that, comes the Metaverse, we will have even THAT happening in what passes for facts these days.)

The problem, also, is when the belief ceases to be just an opinion and becomes an identity. I am a Theist, I am a Capitalist, I am a Liberal, I am a Socialist, what have you. Because, now, to change your mind about ANYTHING that belongs as part of your pet canon ceases to be merely a question of modifying your point of view about one facet of Society and becomes tantamount to a loss of identity. You form a circle of friends based on your identity and to lose the identity loses you friends. So, there you are, frozen in mind about what you believe in and incapable of changing your mind about any facet of it.

The funny thing about beliefs which turn into identities is that you CAN have your mind changed but YOU cannot change your mind. Because, when you develop an identity around a belief system and develop your circle of friends around that identity, peer pressure pushes you into believing whatever your circle believes in. And the 'thought-leaders' of those circles will be following a leader or a set of leaders. Presto, your mind can be changed by what those leaders decide. Of course, if their decision run radically counter to what went on before, you may seize control of your mind. Which is why, like I said before in a post, real leaders slowly turn you by stages to the way they want you to go. They do not make abrupt U-turns.

Essentially, therefore, for you to be a leader, YOU have to be able to change your mind...not one of those who have their minds changed for them.

And thus it was that I was proud when I had occasion to say, "I have changed my mind."

Pat came a reply, straight from some book I think, "Good! The one you were using was pretty pathetic."


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