Children are often strongly influenced by the attitudes, philosophies, and sometimes even the prejudices of their parents or other powerful influences. Even basic facts can be taught to a child in a different way than they are to large numbers of others. It is common that some people follow such ideas throughout the remainder of their lives almost in a blind way, with no exploration or challenge. No comparisons or scientific like testing.
My parents certainly did have firm opinions on certain matters. I was influenced by them like the many children I mention above. But I consider myself fortunate that I was introduced to opposing points of views as a teen and adult. Sometimes my first instincts were to fight opposing beliefs. I thought I had good evidence to support my perspectives on things, but then found that I did not when challenged to defend my beliefs. When I didn’t, I became confused and tongue tied or even hostile. However, there came a time when I finally decided to close my mouth, listen and keep an open mind. By listening, I either realized that my original thoughts were blindly held and made no sense, or I finally found strong enough evidence to support the opinions and attitudes I initially blindly accepted.
Here is an example. My father used to always quote the following:
“If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.” – Author not firmly identified.
Is the quote above always the case? Obviously not, and I don’t feel that anyone who thinks otherwise is abnormal or bad, but it does imply that life changes and priorities can change people’s points of view over time.
What have you learned from what you blindly accepted with no real investigation? Do you ever ask yourself if you and/or the majority, or designated “experts” should be believed? If not the experts, then why you and/or the majority? How does continuing such a belief ultimately benefit you and others? And if the experts do eventually have their hypotheses proved right, then was it worth it for you to fight it so hard with so much less knowledge?
In my life, I have learned to reject a lot of the less than ideal thoughts and attitudes I learned in my youth. I made the choice to take the high road on certain matters, even if I wasn’t sure about them. Or sometimes it wasn’t a choice, it was life’s challenges themselves that influenced my thinking and full acceptance of certain ideas.
Though not everyone I grew up with has gone through notable thought and attitude transformations, I do see that they haven’t been entirely unchanged either. I guess there are many factors that have attributed to this. One is that we live in a place that welcomes a variety of people with different philosophies and points of view. That is a strong influence. Another one is that as time goes by we fall into and roll with certain situations. The world is changing around us. Change can be very good. Change often equals progress, no matter whether it is change forward, or in some cases change backwards. But we must not be blind to the change or the reasons behind the change.
When I write about transformation of thoughts, I don’t want my discussion to be misconstrued as a denunciation that original thoughts and teachings are often wrong. I rather want to suggest that people be inquisitive and question thinking. I hope that people can feel fully confident that their views and philosophies are for the best of both themselves, other people and the world around them. Then when that time comes, the faith in those beliefs will be at their strongest and closest to the heart. Not blindly followed beliefs for beliefs’ sake.