Do you ever wonder how the minds of other people function? Do people devote themselves to conclusions or to truth? I think there are clearly some of both type in the world, though lately at least it has seemed that there are far more of the former, than the later.
When people have deep conversations about meaningful topics or socially significant issues, do they enter those conversations with an open mind? Do they leave the conversation debating to themselves the points the other side has made?
The reason I ask is because these are questions which implicate intellectual honesty; a trait which I often find lacking in philosophical sparring partners. It's been a special curse since the law school year began again. I should qualify here that I'm thinking of no particular person or event - this isn't a pointed post with a hidden agenda - but generally, jumping back into the shark-infested classes, it has been a struggle for me to remember that for many people truth is subservient to desire.
I'm convinced that this is a problem. If one is going hold a view they must premise that view on prior thought and discovery, not on what they want. Too often in our time "thought" is a synonym for desire. Too frequently people say "I think X" when what they really mean is "I want X." And if a person enters conversation convinced of X, premised on what they want, then that conversation is unlikely to be fruitful.
I think this is an important point, and I do my best to avoid falling into the trap of identifying thought with desire. I want people to know that no matter how passionately I argue my point, I can be persuaded to see the other side's validity. I may seem confident, even cocky, but if you can show me where I've made a mistake, I'll likely change my tune. I'm not committed to a position, I'm committed to truth. And maybe that's why I can come across as so egotistical - because I'm flexible enough to change my position so that I'm aligned with truth. I have nothing to gain by remaining committed to a cause, once I see its deficiencies.
And so this post has two conclusions. First, I want everyone to know that when I enter a conversation, even if I seem unfailingly devoted to my position, my mind can be changed. Show me why your view is better - really convince me - and I'll be on board. Second, I think this is something we should all work towards. Why is our nation so evenly split on so many topics? Why is there this great divide on social and philosophical issues? The reason I would give is that too many people are dishonest in their reasoning. They've committed themselves to being pro or con on every issue, and never step back to work out the truth underneath.
When was the last time you actually, honestly, considered why you think what you do? Isn't it time we all step back and pursue truth instead of desire?
I can hear the bells are ringing joyful and triumphant