Social Question

linguaphile's avatar

How willing are you to adjust your belief, or part of a belief, to reframe a perspective?

Asked by linguaphile (14437points) January 25th, 2012

“The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney(authorship disputed)

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In dark and bitter cold
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back.
For on the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking cross the way,
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes,
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use,
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from—- the cold within.

Quote by Obi-Wan: “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

I find a lot of disagreements tend to be because we are so set in our point of views that we don’t see that there are other valid point of views, and often have a hard time seeing that conflicting point of views can both be right on their own grounds. Is the opposing perspective always wrong?

How willing are you to adjust your most dearly held values and reframe your persepective?

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13 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I am so cynical, constantly questioning the accepted version of things, that I am very open to alternate points of view.

thorninmud's avatar

I love this from Niels Bohr: “There are trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.”

I have no desire to spend my life taking and defending positions among the opposites. When I feel that this is happening (as it sometimes does), I remind myself that there is a more inclusive perspective that renders such positions trivial. We can’t always get away with not taking sides, but not losing sight of the level of “Great truth” helps me hold my opinions lightly.

nikipedia's avatar

Great question. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Much as I might be willing to adjust a belief, actually doing it is a very difficult thing to do.

There are some beliefs that are easy enough to not hold because they’re so clearly wrong—racism, sexism, etc. But it gets quite a bit more difficult to be open to other perspectives when I really, really believe in my core that I’m right about something.

One thing that I think is helpful is not to try to force yourself to change your mind on the spot. Instead, when someone believes something that I completely disagree with, the best I can do is ask how they arrived there and try to see from their perspective.

Coloma's avatar

I like to consider myself open minded, and am very willing to adjust my beliefs as new information comes into my awareness. I have reformed many old beliefs over the years. However, I am also very discerning and my bullshit-o-meter is always running at full tilt. lol
I’ve found that those with the most rigidly held posistions usually have no problem manipulating their philosophies in a shape shifting manner when their egos are threatened.

I especially see this in certain philosophical/spiritual arenas, where some like to customize and tweak certain philosophies to suit their own shady agendas.

Coloma's avatar

Recent example in my personal life. Being solicited to be a tantric sex partner at a tantric sex “workshop.”
Tantra is a sacred Hindu practice of lovemaking intended to foster deep self and other connection and a path of enlightenment through intense ego surrender that very few Hindus are even chosen to participate in.
The westernized read: bastardized version of tantra is to have tantra “workshops” that attract single people, more so than committed couples, as a sleazy means of potentially “hooking up” under the guise of “spirituality.”

You can bet your ass that Hindus are not going to tantric sex classes to solicit casual sexual partners. lol I cannot stand manipulating beautiful practices in the name of “enlightenment.” Bah!

lloydbird's avatar

Never hold on to any belief so tightly that you cannot let go of it.

Blackberry's avatar

Some beliefs I can let go of, and others I can’t. But this is different from understanding other beliefs. I can understand a belief, but still think it’s inefficient or detrimental.

EverRose11's avatar

My beliefs change nearly daily for my life has never stopped surprising me, and I have learned my beliefs are just that “My Beliefs” I hold nothing so tight that I cannot let it go. This lesson I learned from living in a third world country after growing up in small town Pennsylvania where everyone labeled everything and everybody back in the days of my youth. I Broke out of that cage. And I feel lucky for my free spirited outlook on life now.

YARNLADY's avatar

I try to go with the evidence.

LezboPirate's avatar

I hold tightly to my own beliefs and points of view. I do, however, have a wonderful ability to see the other side of things. And it has never mattered to me who I think is right, if you’re arguing one point I will argue the other. Even if I disagree with it completely. That’s just me.

flutherother's avatar

I’ll just hold on to my beliefs thanks, it is too much trouble to attempt to change them. If they don’t work I just assume that reality is wrong.

Coloma's avatar

@flutherother Haha…very good! Yeah, reality is wrong! lol

Berserker's avatar

Well a learning factor has to be at hand. Then again that doesn’t mean anything, because I can still use a fact to shape and justify something that suits me best. In fact, it’s probably easier to do that with something concrete.
This is too complicated since besides emotions, I never really get a sense of confirmation on anything, and what I do get as sense of confirmation in such a case is usually probably fallacy, for obvious reasons.

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