I was having a conversation with Kimmy the other day. We were talking about religion, politics, and all the other fun stuff you talk about on a month long RV trip. That conversation got me going down what I thought was an interesting train of thought. I jotted this thought down to explore further, and here we are.
For some context, there is a meme that’s gone around for a bit now. It’s the “Change My Mind” meme that you saw on the cover photo for this post. You’ll see it go around with a lot of different things. I have to admit, I’ve laughed at many of these, and they are designed to mock the hard-headedness of people that hold some of these opinions in the memes. That can be funny, but it also concerns me.
You see this whole meme is funny because we watch so many people hold opinions unchanging, even with an abundance of information to the contrary. That’s funny, but what about when it’s you? The thing this meme leans on is the fact that our culture is one of closed minds. It’s normal, and often times encouraged to hold hard opinions. I’ve definitely been guilty of this far too many times on far too many things.
But, why is holding a hard opinion a bad thing? Well, it’s not necessarily, but holding it without also searching for contradicting information or being willing to accept new information is. Imagine if society never changed their minds given new information… We’d still believe the world was flat. Yes, that’s an intentional joke.
In all seriousness though, one of the things I believe has helped me grow as a person is the focus on trying to search out contradicting information to my opinions. When I have a political opinion, I want to know (and really understand) why do people on the other side of whatever the issue believe they are right? When you work towards this level of empathy, I believe two things happen. First, you can get a full understanding of how the “other side” thinks so you can have an intelligent conversation whether you change your mind or not. Second, you get the information you need to decide whether you should change your mind.
Now imagine if everyone did this all the time, would the two party system still exist? Would we be able to solve larger problems in the world? What else could be possible?
I encourage you to identify one opinion you hold very strongly, and learn about the other side. Truely take the effort to see it from the other’s perspective. Let me know what you learn, did you change your mind? That’s not a bad thing.