The Gnomic: Changing Minds
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Occasionally we’ll dip away from the usual format on The Gnōmic and dig into something specific. This week, we return to the usual format. The thought that has been on my mind is how much we seem to be hell-bent on changing other people’s minds - or are we? We want to be right and we want other people to agree with us. It solidifies our place in the world and verifies our existence and sense of reality. But we also want others to view our ideas as wrong because it means we can have a fight, and fighting verifies our existence too. It is the life and death drive within the depths of the psyche, or Eros and Thanatos as Freud called them, in cooperative exchange with each other.
We can pretend to be Stoic, for example, because it’s trendy, sociably acceptable, and aligns with our ideas of how we should be. But in reality, we deny that darker side of ourselves for the sake of an ideal image. The image is not of our own making. We’ve merely aligned with it so that we are “somebody,” that we feel we belong to some movement or other. To be Stoic, passive, unaffected by the chaos of life is desirable in certain quarters. So we bury deep our outrage, anger and aggression often unbeknownst to ourselves. Call it something else if you don’t like the analogy to Stoicism, say passive-aggressive, for example.