Changing Your Mind

25 February 2010

Often times people ask you what you believe or even why you believe it, but how often do you get asked - "What would it take to change your mind?"

In a book I'm reading by Greg Craven, What's the Worst that Could Happen?, he asks you to stop after reading Chapter 0. Before moving onto chapter 1 you are supposed to go to the back of the book and write about what it would take to change your mind from your current stance on climate change. This was nearly impossible for me. I consider myself an open minded person on most matters (except once I get defensive I tend to stick to my guns) but trying to answer this question proved a difficult feat. To be honest, my answer came out incredibly vague just so that I could continue reading.

Have you ever encountered a situation like this one; Where you didn't even notice that you weren't willing to change your mind? Often times when we believe something strongly we only look at the facts that support our case but we should be trying to prove ourselves wrong. If we can't, then we should feel much more solid about our beliefs. Besides, without digging into the other side we may never know the true facts (often we know less than we think we know).

For example, in my Contemporary Issues in the Geosciences course today we watched a ten minute long video clip of Harvard graduates answer science questions. Each graduate was given a seed then a piece of a log. The questioner asked them where the mass came from and do you know what they said? Water and soil (minerals). That's it and guess what - that's not where most of the mass comes from. Do you know where that mass comes from? Here's a hint - it's all around you right now and it's SO LIGHT that you don't even notice it - CO2. How could that air possibly make up that mass? It's so very, very compacted into the tree in compounds. It's amazing what we miss sometimes. One student even talked about photosynthesis and resulting CO2 but still didn't see the connection.

Our education leaves gaps and we need to spend sometime educating ourselves on knowledge, religion, politics, etc. so that we can be truly functioning members of society. We also need to learn to ask ourselves "What would change my mind?" so that we can consciously realize that we could be wrong. Just because we think something is true doesn't automatically make it so.

I guess this was my rant about being human. We all make mistakes and it can only be good for us to open our minds to possibilities.

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