But Changing Them Is Expensive
In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there’s no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof. John Kenneth Galbraith
One dictionary definition of cheap: achieved with little effort; and one definition of expensive: beyond one’s means. I believe that what you choose to believe is one of the most important factors in how you live your life. Yes, I believe you can choose what you believe. But what you believe now may not have been your choice. What you believe now may have been achieved with little effort (cultural indoctrination, limited experiences, illusions, religious training, misinformation, paternalism, etc.). But changing what you believe today may be difficult tomorrow. And it could be expensive, beyond your means because: The evidence people use to justify their belief is often the result of the belief, not the cause.
But there is a problem with changing one’s belief; this old light bulb joke shows the problem: How many counselors does it take to change a light bulb? It only takes one but the light bulb has to want to change. You have to want to change. We tend to believe what we want to believe and changing that belief isn’t what we want to do, because it takes effort, sometimes expensive effort. Changing your mind isn’t a crime but many people believe it is a wrongdoing or even a sin. It makes you appear wishy-washy, unreliable, fickle, untrustworthy, etc.
The reason to write about changing beliefs is because beliefs have consequences and the consequences often apply beyond the believer. Therefore, some beliefs are better than others. Better beliefs generally have better consequences for the planet and most people. Choosing better beliefs is not achieved with little effort; but it is not beyond our means. The first step is a willingness to be open-minded about changing what you believe. The next step is knowing what you believe, knowing its consequences and knowing where that belief came from. This is where much effort comes in because beliefs can be the ties that bind you and blind you.
Is pausing to think about changing beliefs important today? I believe it is possible to say that changing beliefs in today’s world will be a necessary solution to today’s world problems. Of course the issue will be: whose beliefs need changing? And will any believers want to change?
Our heads are round so that our thoughts can change directions. Francis Picabia