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  • Writer's pictureJerome Michael McLaughlin

Stop this train!!

Some say it is easier to stop a speeding train than to change someone else’s mind.

But what about our own mind? Surely it cannot require much effort to change the very mind we own and control? Then again, what does it mean precisely “to change our mind”?

We believe that we are open minded, and if persuasively swayed, would change our mind to accept a concept we had never considered before. But in reality, we are quite stubborn and hard-of-mind when it comes to transitioning from one idea firmly held to accept another competing concept, especially if that concept is in direct opposition to our original position.

We steadfastly resist making any adjustments to our own pattern of thought, even if some suspicion of its validity stirs within our own mind. Why? To do so would require that we publicly admit we were wrong. Or worse, we did not really think a particular point of view all the way through. We simply accepted it based upon limited information, labeled the thought as “resolved”, and moved on. A weak opinion, strongly held.

If we take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves, when was the last time I made a significant shift in my thinking? And what was the impetus for this change? And, what was it that finally made me rethink my own thoughts?

We have become a highly bifurcated and dangerously contemptuous society. Some believe that what others hold to be “true” is not only false, but so false as to be labeled ”extreme” and thus requiring it be eliminated or outlawed. This is hazardous thinking. You have no idea the information, knowledge, and wisdom that was used to formulate that particularly point of view and what might be learned by spending a little time mulling it over.

When was the last time in recent memory that you’ve said one of the following:

  1. That’s a good point

  2. No, you’re right

  3. I see what you’re saying

  4. I never thought about it like that

If the answer is “none of the above”, you may be more intolerant than you believe. You may be isolating yourself from some serious mind-altering and thus life-changing information. Being open minded and thus willing to accept new ideas is a humbling but empowering act. The path to peaceful coexistence may not be forcing others to accept your way of thinking, but the ability to reconsider your own.

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