Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't Try To Change My Mind???

Recently I have seen a number of people, who consider themselves “freethinkers” and “open minded”, post statements on social networking sites to the effect of: Don’t try to change my mind… I won’t listen. Now, I expect this from certain people, especially ones of specif belief system... but not from these rational truth seekers.

Talk to the hand!

I have a problem with this. How can you be open minded if you don’t listen to what it is out there, including the ideas and opinions that go against what you currently believe or consider to be true? I have nothing against people trying to “sway” me. I also have no hesitation in trying to “sway” another person. I’m also a believer in freedom and freedom includes letting others be wrong, believe you are wrong and chastise you for it.

Damn dirty apes

On facebook I have seen people using the “threat” of blocking or de-friending people for trying to sway them or expressing their own contradictory opinion. (I use quotation marks on the word because it is no threat and offers no punishment. It is very presumptuous and arrogant of anyone to think their de-friending or blocking would be) I have never de-friended someone or even denied a friend request (I have blocked people, but only because they post in a language I can’t understand or they only post game update for games I care nothing about), at least not as of yet… There are some very valid reasons to do so. Now, I do respect and support everyone’s right to de-friend and block people for whatever reason they choose, it is their reasons that sadden me. To me it sort of takes away a main purpose of a public (no matter what anyone wants to believe – it’s on the Internet, it’s public) social networking site. I understand that not everyone uses these sites for the same purpose. Some people only use them to connect with family, some only friends and others only strippers & porn stars. I also understand that not everyone believes as I do on this matter, or at least this point. I am not at issue with those people and do understand (especially in the case of strippers & porn stars). I am talking about the ones that use the sites to promote their belief or position and then expect everyone on their friends list to either agree or at least keep quiet if they don’t. Some actually believe everyone, or at least anyone who is either sane or worth conversing with, are going to agree with them on every issue… and some people simply like living in an echo chamber and only want to hear the rattle of the head nods from the “yes men” who agree with them whether they are right or wrong. Anything worthy believing in should be able to handle scrutiny, right? If you have a problem discussing or debating your issue, maybe there is a problem with your issue. It's much easier to debate when you are correct ;)

In order to truly have an open mind you must accept that you may be wrong. (that is a great quote, I wrote it) I actually enjoy having people who disagree with me on my friends list on facebook along with the conversations, debates and opportunities it offers… What if the person who is contradicting your position actually has evidence you were not aware of? What if you should change your mind? What if you are actually wrong? Even if everything you know of and have heard or read is evidence you are correct, what if there is something out there that you don’t know? Wouldn’t a truly open minded person want to know? On the other side of the coin… Maybe they will present an argument that you haven’t heard before. (not saying they even have to be correct, just that they are taking a new angle on things) This will do a few things. It will give you a chance to think and reaffirm you are correct, plus it will give you a preparation for the next time you hear the argument. Remember that when someone is trying to sway you to their side it is a perfect open opportunity to sway them to yours. Maybe you can be the one to enlighten them to a truth to which they were as of yet unaware.

Is it wrong I find this picture hot?

If you really believe something is important, wouldn’t you want people to know? Shouldn’t you want people to know? If you had evidence that if everyone ate an orange each day they would live longer healthier lives… wouldn’t you tell everyone to eat oranges? Wouldn’t you even buy oranges and give them to your friends or even hand them out to strangers to promote this?

As long as you did it in moderation and didn’t get “pushy” about it, I think most people wouldn’t mind. They wouldn’t all agree with you and some would not take your advice (some wouldn’t even take your orange), some might even debate you on the subject, but all that is ok and even good. You would probably go through a lot of oranges before you had someone throw one back at you in a violent rage. Now, let’s change the word “orange” to a political or religious view… now we suddenly have people getting upset and even violent. You can almost hear the minds closing. Realize, no matter how absurd a claim or idea is… if the person believes it and especially if they believe it will benefit others it is fine, sometimes even noble, of them to share their information. I believe that includes prosthelytizing.

I must stress the point that everything must be taken in moderation (yes, even bacon). We all need our “down time” and time to relax & recoup. Sometimes we do need to hear from just those who agree with us, if nothing else but to recharge. But, if all we ever do is listen to like minded people then we never give ourselves the opportunity to grow, advance & possibly become a better person, a person who is wiser and has a broader range.

Did you think I would do a post without a Star Wars reference?

So, next time before you say, “My mind’s made up, don’t try to change it.” Take a moment and think about how you may be able to learn something or even educate someone else.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where Do Babies Come From?

It all starts with one simple question from a child...

My four year old son came downstairs to go to the bathroom. As he was exiting the bathroom he looked over at his mother and myself and asked a very sweet & simple question, "Did you guys pick me?" We explained that in a way we did. We picked him and he grew in mommy's tummy. We reassured him we wouldn't have rather had any other child than him.

My brain then turned to thoughts of why he would have asked that question... the possibilities that he had spoken to an adopted child at daycare or even foster children, maybe something from a movie or TV. I didn't have long to ponder these thoughts. After standing there thinking for a moment he asked, "How do they get the baby out of the mommy's tummy?"

"The doctor helps." was what I thought would be a simple answer that would passify his youthful mind... as usual, I was wrong. "Does the doctor rip open the mommy's belly?" This question was posed with hand gestures that reminded me of a Romero zombie movie.

I'm a doctor, let me get that baby out of there!

"Sometimes the doctor has to perform surgury to get the baby out of the tummy, but not usually" My wife tried to explain to him. The look on his face showed he was still waiting for further details. So, as I started walking him back upstairs to bed, I tried to elaborate... With an obscure gesture of my hand indirectly referencing the groin area I stated, "Mommy's have special parts for the baby to come out of."

"So, the baby comes out of their penis?" A very logical deduction for a four year old to make given the information at his disposal.

"Mommys don't have a penis, they have special 'mommy parts' that the baby comes out of instead" I was figuring it was not over with that statement, but I didn't want to elaborate any furthere since I wasn't sure which way it would go from there and a wrong assumption on my part could lead me down a much more complex conversation.

"So, how do they pee?" Another logical question.

"Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina." Memories of Schwarzenegger in the movie Kindergarten Cop, which happens to have a bit role in it played by a great stand up comedian Bob Nelson, came to my mind. "girls pee with that."

I love that scene

We made it to the top of the stairs and to my surprise the next words out of his mouth were, "Ok, can I watch Batman?" Thank you caped crusaider!

Ok, I'm not ready for that conversation yet

I tucked him in, put in a Batman DVD and snuck back downstairs to where I new I would be safe from any conversation about sex... with my wife.