“The foolish and the dead never change their opinion,” was my father’s favorite saying when I was a little girl—an aphorism he strongly upholds and lives his life by today. As I remember the countless instances when, as a child, he prevented me from pursuing some strange obsession or stubbornly maintaining an outlook merely because I had thought it was that way, I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed, not because I dote on my father or wish those times back—both of which I do—but because I get intimidated by the prospect of possibly becoming a non-malleable, headstrong individual who perceives the world from one vantage point, refusing to harbor any possibility of the ‘otherwise’ were it not for him.
At 27, I can now say with some authority that being open to other opinions has often been my saving grace. There were times when I felt myself sink into the unfathomable depths, there were times when I felt like I was irretrievably done for, there were times when I gave into despair and almost gave up. At every instance, however, when my sensibilities plummeted, I let go of the anchor of the idiosyncrasies I had been clinging to. From every such circumstance, I have been redeemed.
I do not say that people must keep swerving in their opinions and perceptions. I only say that the stubbornness with which we cling to our own beliefs should be strong enough to turn us into people of substance and reason, and yet not strong enough to deliver us as passive slaves to our unimpressionable, unbending faculties. The line that separates accommodative reason and obstinate oblivion should never waver or fade out. The scales should pan out in perfect balance—obliterating the slightest sliver of a chance to tip in favor of either fickleness or stubbornness.
Unfortunately, many of us choose to hang on blindly. We refuse to let reason seep in, we refuse to let go of the beliefs we have staunchly, painstakingly maintained since the dawn of our reason. We disguise our adamance in the garbs of ego, self-esteem, even righteousness. And while we delude the world—ourselves included—we diligently fan our conceitedness and inflate our egos. We often do it unwittingly, but we inflate them nonetheless.
We live in a dynamic world. Everything is transient, volatile. Circumstances change. With changing circumstances, people and prospects evolve. Shouldn’t our beliefs evolve, too? Don’t wen need to flow with the tides that stream into new waters? Don’t we need to move with the ever-revolving wheel of change into unexplored horizons? It’s as important to consider other view points, other possibilities, other worlds as it is to remember to breathe. We die if we choose not to breathe. In the same vein, we forfeit life and consciousness if we willfully refuse to acknowledge change and the possibility that sometimes, we might be wrong.
We need to be open to the idea of changing our minds.