You’ve heard “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.” And, probably there is someone out there claiming that’s a sexist remark. While, I, on the other hand, consider it to be a compliment. “How so?” I hear you ask (or maybe those are voices in my head).
Recently I was pondering whether the majority of us hold tight to some ideas and beliefs based on feelings, teachings from childhood, or even unsubstantiated facts. The question inevitably arises, do we ever reconsider the basis of any long-held beliefs? Put aside religion or politics, and consider other ideas (maybe even strong felt beliefs). For instance, perhaps you have a strong opinion about one or more of the following statements:
- Horse slaughter should be abolished
- Criminal recidivism rates cannot be substantially reduced
- GMOs cause cancer
- Children exposed to TV or gaming violence become more violent adults, or
- You can generally tell when someone is lying to you
If you have a strong opinion regarding any of the above, do you hold that belief as true indefinitely? Consider the following questions:
- How often do you openly seek research studies to prove/disprove your belief?
- If you were flipping television channels and happened upon a documentary (or came across an actual research study on the internet), would you stop long enough to investigate what the most recent findings support? Would you question the methodology of the study?
- If the topic arose in conversation with someone you know casually supporting the opposite view, what would you do? Would you listen? Would you engage in polite conversation? Would you become defensive? Would you walk away?
Friedrich Nietzsche prophesied, “There are no eternal facts as there are no absolute truths.” Whew! Maybe quoting Nietzsche is a little over the top.
On the lighter side, how often is the phrase, as a matter of fact, followed by an expression that may not be factual? This week I’ll be listening for the phrase, as a matter of fact, and see whether it’s followed by what appears to be a factual statement. If you’re in the mood to join my nerdy endeavor, let me know what you hear.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one parting thought. It’s a wise person who explores facts, and is open to changing his mind.