When Facing New Ideas Is Difficult

Considering new ideas can be scary.  If your current views turn out to be wrong…well, I know from my own experience that having everything you thought you knew turned on its head is upsetting.  Messing with your beliefs and values can be traumatic.

Here’s the issue though.  Taking a simplistic approach and considering a particular opinion (not a complex system like your entire worldview), your current view may be true, false, or somewhere on the scale between those two.  If your conviction is true, then you shouldn’t have to be afraid to face other ideas, because they can’t threaten it.  The challenge helps reinforce them, and you can defend your reasoning when people argue for the other view you rejected.  But if that idea or belief is false, why would you want to keep holding it?  It may rattle you to find out, yes, but if you want the truth then it wouldn’t make sense to avoid considering another view because “you might have been wrong.”  You need to be able to let go of the original view.

What about faulty reasoning, you ask?  One belief compared to another may be true, but isn’t the assumption that you’ll always use sound reasoning and come to the right conclusion a bit questionable?  I certainly wouldn’t assert that I’m the most logical person around.  We are human beings with subjective brains (at least I’m assuming you’re a human – if you’re actually an alien or a cat, feel free to correct me), so that’s a very real risk.  It’s better, though, to keep thinking, than to give up the search once you find “a good enough view” because you might come to an incorrect conclusion.  Anyway, how do you know that the thinking that led to that view is correct, especially if you haven’t given the alternatives fair consideration?  Everyone has some sort of worldview, and you’re more likely to reach the correct conclusions if you think through stuff and maybe have a faulty conclusion here and there, than if you don’t attempt to wrestle with ideas at all. You likely will come to incorrect decisions along the way.  If you keep learning and considering and stretching your brain though, hopefully those mistakes will be corrected as you grow in knowledge.

That may not sound very solid, but if we want to try and know the truth about life and the world, we must be willing to accept uncertainty.  Life is complicated.  In a way, that openness, and the challenge to us humans, is part of the beauty of life.

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