Pros and Cons
There are good reasons to not change your mind and good reasons to change it. Solid reliable evidence is a good reason to change your mind. Faux news stories on the internet that claim someone said something about something and is written by someone to get you to click on a headline and is obviously biased is not.
The Blind Spot
I came across a Facebook post yesterday from an old friend. He was promoting a conspiracy theory about 9/11. I argued a bit about it with him and others. Another friend then private messaged me gently giving me the advice that I should let it go. The reason? This was a blind spot the conspiratorial friend had. He was blind to something he was fully aware of in other areas of his life; namely logic, reason, critical thinking. Me arguing using any of those tools wasn’t going to convince him because he had, for whatever reason, purposely blinded himself to them in this area.
The Mystery Spot
There is a funny little tourist attraction in the Santa Cruz mountains of California, not far from where he lives. It’s called ‘The Mystery Spot’ and it promotes the idea that the laws of space, time and gravity don’t apply in that locale. It has funny shaped rooms that make you think someone is small when you know they aren’t. It has other spaces that make you feel like you are defying gravity in some way.
Now a little kid might think this Mystery Spot really does defy those laws, that is the fun of it for parents and adults, to see their kids wonder about these tricks without understanding them. It’s a way to teach them actually. But it would be very disturbing if a full grown rational adult went to the Mystery Spot and actually believed those laws were suspended. We would think they had something go wrong in their brain because it would be obvious to all that it was just an amusing slight of hand trick and it would not be believable that a grown adult would fall for it.
The Emotional Spot
But that is what happens in life all the time. We have blind spots where we don’t change our mind in the face of evidence. It might be emotional, a person just has to believe their dog is coming back after being lost 25 years ago. We all know the dog is dead by now, but that person emotionally needs to keep hope and so suspends rationality for their emotional need.
The Mind Spot
But emotional, intellectual and physical health actually are better served in the long run by our ability to face truths, to face reality. That sometimes means changing our minds about something. If we can’t do that, we can’t change ourselves and we can’t change anything else.
What are some examples of this from your life and the life of the world around you?
Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish playwright