Why is it so hard to change your mind?
Humans are pretty stubborn by nature. Being told ‘you’re wrong’ or that the image created by your brain isn’t representative of the true order of things is hard to chew. I know this as I’m a man, and even though I am nearly always wrong, I am never wrong…
There’s a lot of debate presently surrounding a multitude of topics; immigration policy, environment, abortion, Trump. Debate is healthy and widely understood as an intelligence humans are capable of that separates us from other sentient beings. Our brains are so clever that we can not only paint pictures for ourselves but imprint them, on canvas, in others’ minds. This ability to represent what you stand for and teleport your thoughts to another person is surely one of the fundamental reasons we, as a race, have achieved so much. Put in other words, we are able to change our minds, change our minds’ understanding of the World around us and thereafter change the World around us as we see fit. Every step forward in thinking - scientifically, spiritually, politically, has arisen from a person’s (or persons’) ability to change their train of thought. Their ability to accept that they were in fact wrong. The malleability of the mind. So why then, is it so difficult to change your mind?
Take Trump. Here is a man that has divided the World in half. He’s the Marmite of world politics; you truly either love or hate him. Dialogue between the two hemispheres of Opinion: Trump is abundant. One can barely pass five minutes without a policy, quote or act committed by him being mentioned. The uproar received by sharing resonance with his vision of future Earth is only matched by the patriarchal bellow of his supporters. Debate is rife and people, myself included, cannot wait to tell you that ‘you are wrong’. You are wrong because the World’s future rests on our ability to cooperate and understand each other. You are wrong because the Real World isn’t made of roses and daffodils you ‘Snowflake’.
So what if we’re all wrong? Or, what if we’re all right? Based on historical events we have already learnt that to be wrong is the only way to make something right. The Earth isn’t flat, the Sun does not orbit us but the opposite is true, some characteristics are inherent, others can be learned. You have to appreciate and fully understand the wrong to embrace change and learn to be right. Doesn’t it then make sense to revel in being wrong, to exercise uncertainty, to enjoy the progression of altered thought?
I think that a lot of our angst is drawn from our incessant need to convince others to our way of thinking. Deep down most of us are guilty of thinking that our vision of the planet is the clearest and closest to absolute reality. To shake the confines of that belief and truly embrace how it may be holding you back is an exercise in humility and enlightenment. It is totally liberating to know that you haven’t got all the answers. It is exciting to know that other people have gained different results from their experiments with life and that theirs, yours and everybody else’s are riddled with anomalies. Most of all it is this paradigm shift away from fearing the wrong that will ultimately push us further towards new, exciting and mutually beneficial achievements that, as yet, we cannot comprehend.
Every once in a while, someone great sees this truth and discovers something that changes the World. So, as we share this moment of anxiety, the uncertainty of ‘what now?’, let’s remember that the mere fact we haven’t yet got all the answers is the single most exciting thing about being human… unless I’m wrong of course.