My views and outlook on life have changed over the past few years. On some subjects, they’ve changed dramatically. I see this as a natural progression since most people’s views change as they do. The changes in my views have come as a result of learning how to employ critical thinking. Its benefits are summed up well by William Graham Sumner:
[People who are educated in the critical habit of thought]…cannot be stampeded by stump orators…They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other.
Or more simply, in the words of The Oracle from The Matrix, “You just have to make up your own damn mind.” To me, this change indicates personal growth. Apparently I’m in a minority on that point.
I get told quite often that people are “worried” about me because I don’t hold the same opinions I used to hold, and my current opinions are at odds with theirs. Their condescension is annoying and it pisses me off sometimes, but I don’t take offense to it. They don’t understand how gradual the changes are or my reasons for making them, mainly because they don’t actually talk to me about them. They just see that I used to think this but now I think that, and the changes seem abrupt and capricious. I’m fairly reserved about expressing them too. I’ll discuss my opinions respectfully if the subject comes up, but it’s not like I have a tattoo on my forehead which reads “AGREE WITH ME OR GO BLOW A GOAT”.
It’s not even the good kind of “worried” either. It’s not the kind I can parlay into some sort of social advantage. I have my shit together too much to be considered the kind of project guy that women love to try to fix. By that I mean I’m not grossly self-destructive, I’m even-keeled, and I have the social grace to avoid being described as “a good guy once you get to know him” (in other words, “he’s an obnoxious asshole, but you get used to it”). Buying expensive sports cars and dating women who are old enough to vote but not old enough to drink — that they understand. But thinking for myself and employing healthy doses of humor, surliness, and sarcasm without bouncing off every wall there is? That’s something to worry about.
If that’s weird, then I like being a weirdo.