A point comes in everybody’s life when they are no longer able to accept new ideas. They arrive at “the Truth” and close themselves off to anything that doesn’t confirm it. Their inner lives become a closed chamber where the same broken record plays on an endless loop. For many people, this happens quite early in life.
A human mind, however, is much bigger than this locked chamber. If anybody manages to break through, disrupt the loop, and bring a new idea into the mind of such a person, he (which it normally is) becomes an object of an intense attachment to the close-looper. This can be a guru, a religious leader, an ideologue, a self-help peddler, an artist, or a political demagogue of any kind. The attachment is a product of the close-looper’s realization that their brain is capable of bigger things than the looper once thought possible and the resulting gratitude. But this process also produces a lot of fear because the looper is untrained in intellectual expansion. The disrupting guru becomes an object of fixation, which is the mind’s attempt to block off any further intellectual discoveries.
The whole purpose of my blog is to serve as a workout for my own brain to prevent it from closing off and going stale. I prod and poke my own certainties because, as somebody else said:
This kind of rigidity comes when critical thinking is abandoned. To close oneself off to the possibility of alternative opinions, and only to see the world through the lens of confirmation bias, is a form of intellectual death.
People who read this blog often find this process disturbing because it happens in real-time and is based on a constant prodding of certainties that is often hard to tolerate. It’s easier for me because I’m the driver of the process on my own blog. But I understand that it can be extraordinarily annoying to observe.
Those who have stuck with the blog for years are quite unique in their capacity to tolerate the disruption of their inner truths. This is a capacity that speaks to a great intellectual strength and curiosity. I don’t think I’d be able to let go of my own rigidity to such a degree. I only do it in an environment that’s completely controlled by me, and that’s a very different thing.
I don’t, however, blame those who fall off over the years. From the outside, the whole process looks quite schizophrenic. First, I say one thing, then something completely different, then it shifts again. Then I arrive at something new and get stuck on it and try to process it by endless repetition, which is even more obnoxious. I need this because it helps me think but I understand how it can be frustrating to watch.