Friday, July 07, 2006

Always and never the same

So if the answer is no,
can I change your mind?

--The Killers, "Change Your Mind"

The other day I saw one blogger take another to task for "flip-flopping" on an issue she had posted about previously. Things got a little nasty, so I clicked myself out of there. Life's too short for such foolish and unproductive arguments. But that one gave me an idea for today's post.

What do people want? A blogger (or a mate, or a polititian) who changes her mind every time someone coughs in disapproval, or one who sticks by her words even when she's proved wrong? We'd prefer something between those extremes, right? But sometimes the middle ground between wishy-washy and pigheaded is such a narrow strip that it's difficult to land on. So why do people delight in attacking bloggers (or their mates, or polititians) who occasionally change their minds?

Even intelligent, well-meaning people are bound to contradict themselves from time to time. Although it's often not actual contradiction, but rather a refining of opinions (perhaps based on new information) or just a broader, clearer expression of the opinions that were originally presented.

I have been accused of reversing some of the opinions I've expressed on the internet, and that's sometimes frustrating. First of all, if anyone deserves to be capricious, surely it's a fifty-year-old romance writer. What can it possibly matter to anyone if I hate, let's say, a certain kind of book today and love it tomorrow? And second, a single bulletin-board post or comment on a blog--or even a post here on my own blog--isn't likely to contain all of my thoughts and feelings on a given subject. For one thing, I'm not that clever a writer. But even if I were capable of exhaustive discourse, I doubt I'd have the time or the inclination to engage in it.

As I recently pointed out, I have now logged over 500 posts here at No rules. My writings have been widely quoted in the blogisphere, and between that and the comments I've left at other blogs and forums, my words are scattered around the internet like so many grains of sand. But I have always been very much aware that anything published online is "out there" forever, so I'm okay with that. I have written what I have written, and while I probably meant most of it at the time (watch out for my facetious streak), I may have changed my mind on a few things.

I don't call that contradicting myself. I call it living and learning.

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Amy A. said...

Sometimes I am loathe to give my opinion or make a statement because I know that what I think today, may not be what I think tomorrow. (About the small stuff, anyway).

I am with you. We are all growing and learning and changing and stretching, which is a lot different than being two-faced or wishy-washy or a people pleaser.

I like people who say what they mean, but I also like people who can admit they learned something and think a little differently now, be it blogger, mate or politician.

Anonymous said...

wow...50, huh?

I suppose that is something I have changed my mind about. Used to think that was terribly old...not so much anymore.


Marianne McA said...

Always makes me think of the quote from Bridget Jones, which goes something like - 'It's only a diary. Everyone knows diaries are full of c***.'

A couple of more literate quotes:

'Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.'

Aldous Huxley

'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson

'I have no consistency, except in politics; and that probably arises from my indifference on the subject altogether.'

Lord Byron

Brenda Coulter said...

I suppose that is something I have changed my mind about. Used to think that was terribly old...not so much anymore.

That's probably because you're only a year behind me, Skeezicks.

Amy and Marianne, thanks for reading and commenting.

TrudyJ said...

What a great post ... I really think that the ability to change your mind is the mark of a mature person. I know some people who never seem to change their views on anything and to me they seem terribly stuck. Some of these same people find it very threatening if others change their opinions ... stepping outside of the familiar box.

As someone else who blogs and posts online under my real-life identity, I know what you mean about having your words "out there." I'm always very aware of that and hope to only post things that I'm willing to stand by -- but also hope that others will recognize that I am very much a work in progress.

And I am only 40 ... how much more wisdom and growth and change will I have accumulated when I reach the wise and venerable age of 50?!?!

Shelley said...

A woman's perogative is to be able to change her

Just because someone believes something one day does not mean he or she can not change his or her mind about that subject another time.

BTW...I've started a Christian writer's webring if you'd be interested in joining (the link for it is on my writing blog, Ink Scrawls).

Bhaswati said...

Wonderful post, Brenda. Not only are we prone to changing opinions as part of growing, but the human mind is designed to work in pairs of opposites. Even in daily life we contradict ourselves all the time, don't we? I wonder if those raising objections to changing opinions, never experience any flip-flops at all.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I agree with Shelley...actually that was the comment I was going to make also...LOL!

You're a woman, and you have the inherent ability...and change your mind...they need to get over it and move closed...LOL!

Mirtika said...

I'm never gonna change my mind about "Jesus, Lord, Son of God, Savior" and the husband I've had for 23 years looks by all accounts to be the one I'll love til I drop dead. And I'm very fond of cheese enchiladas, and don't plan to change my mind on that.

But all other topics are pretty much open to discussion. :)

By my age, 46, you've pretty much thought and pondered many of the important issues and come to some clear conclusions. But, unless you've got rigor mortis, I figure you gotta be open to correction and chnages of mind.


Brenda Coulter said...

Shelley, I'm not much into webrings, but others here might be interested, so why don't you post the link?

Bhaswati, it's good to see you again.

...they need to get over it and move on... Amen, Bonnie.

Oooh, cheese enchiladas...con mucho salsa. Vamanos, Mir. Tengo hambre.