Changing your mind

A philosophical point I want to address is the act of changing ones opinion on a matter. We all have opinions. Sometimes they are subjective, other times they are based on information. This latter case changes the opinion to that of fact (or near fact) as we aren’t frequently certain about anything to a 100% degree of accuracy.homunculus philosophy

Now, why is it that when a person, friend, colleague, public spokesperson or politician changes their opinion on a matter are they derided for it? In fact, changing your stance in politics can kill an election or campaign. It is deemed weak to waver on an issue, especially an issue you once espoused and had strong support for. Instead people are encouraged to stick to their past views on matters as it is perceived (wrongly) as a symbol of being resolute and taking a strong stance. To die, metaphorically, standing for something you believe in is seen as courageous and respectable.

It isn’t any of those characteristics to stick to a doctrine or mind-set. Yet humans struggle to either adjust to someone having a new view on a subject, or think them wavering fools of unstable personality and convictions. In the face of new evidence it can never be a negative thing to adjust ones views, either to strengthen them, or to absolve them, unless the information is twisted in such a way so as to seem indicative of their opinion being correct after all. But, intelligent and rational minds take into account all possibilities and outcomes before making informed decisions on what their opinions are, and as such, opinions change in those who do not allow themselves to become stuck in their ways and are open to new revelations. Yet so few of these minds exist.

So why are people so stubborn and supportive of outdated opinions, methods, models and theories? What do you think?

12 Comments

  1. I feel that if we take life as being a court case we should all feel as if we are jury members. Jury members are to take facts and new evidence to form their opinions. If at first they get information on someone who allegedly committed murder and in the beginning it seems as if it were true, they are going to think/believe that the person is guilty. It is not until new facts/evidence is given/shown that their opinions shall change. So what makes it any different with life? If people feel one way about a subject until new evidence or facts are shown and they decide to change their mind why is that considered wrong? Most people tend to think anyone who changes their viewpoints, even justly so, are wishywashy. Unfortunate but true.

  2. I think people are afraid of change believing the status quo is okay and it doesn’t need improving. I sometimes wonder whether ignorance comes into play, not really understanding what is going on or wanting to know. Being open minded also helps to accept changes and one’s mind!

    1. People by definition tend to follow the crowd, social identity theory and all that psych. To stand out is to risk losing social friends and to make enemies. People are safe, and tend to risk social rejection at all costs, so even if ignorance could be negated as a cause of sticking to ones original view, people would still choose to side with caution even if they know it is wrong. And then generally people will only start to champion their original view once numerous others do also. So what am I getting at? I guess that it takes people of conviction and courage to speak out or hold different opinions – whether polarised or not to convention.

      1. It does take courage to speak out or dare to take a risk. We need more like that to be a role model to others and hopefully it will start a revolution!

  3. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Nice topic. Very relevant to my themes where I see so much ‘follow the “leader”‘ without proper thought-processing. so many important issues that require a more open mind an ability to ‘change one’s mind’.

  4. I think changing an opinion you’re so vehemently supporting is tough, because your stance on it is so ingrained in your brain that your view on the thing has become a part of you, and letting go or changing a part of yourself is really difficult, so stubbornly holding onto beliefs, no matter how irrational, is easy.

    1. But when a view has become a part of you like you mention, then there is the flaw in itself. We should never have engrained views, unchangeable to new findings, otherwise why bother learning, discovering, living for a future of ‘newness’?
      Unfortunately it is a human flaw that generally people cannot change, through will or otherwise and often people only change their ways when a near tragedy happens, something so huge in the mind that it makes them reappraise what they thought before.

      1. I’m not saying people who stubbornly hold on to outdated or incorrect beliefs are right—I agree that it’s a flaw. I’m just explaining why it’s difficult for them to change. Often, they’re not even aware they’re being irrational, and they use confirmation bias as pseudo evidence to hold onto their view because it’s so easy to be “right”.

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