Sunday, July 12, 2009

Search for Truth

This morning I received the nicest email from Louise who said that my last post, the one that took her comment as a jumping off point, had made her think. I loved it when she said, "And yes, it would indeed be boring and stagnating to limit ourselves to reading only those views that mirrored back our own opinions." She's exactly right!

I took a college course in social psychology and one of the things that stayed with me is the notion that we are programmed to seek out others who are similar to ourselves. If we go into a room where we don't know anyone who is there, we are predisposed to sit next to someone we perceive is like us. We're more comfortable with those who are similar.

But it's not always about comfort, is it? A search for truth necessitates exploration of a variety of viewpoints. Learning about different perspectives opens us up to possibilities that perhaps we'd not considered before. Sometimes reading and hearing other opinions underscores and validates our own. And other times that reading and hearing shows us that there are things we've not considered and perhaps we're not quite so secure in those opinions.

I read a lot of blogs. Many of them are quilters, like me. Many of them reflect other pieces of who I am. But not all.

I read two guys regularly; they're neither of them quilters like me, but they are introspective and articulate. And they could not be more unlike each other! Matt is a conservative Republican who is deeply connected to his faith and devoted to his family. We disagree on many things. And we read and learn from each other. Then there's Chez (bless his heart) who is also devoted to his family (which is in a precarious state at present); he's a super liberal who's had life experiences that I can't begin to imagine. He's one of the finest writers I've ever encountered and has written a semi-autobiographical book that I can't help but imagine will be a film at the Ritz one day. Reading their blogs informs me, sometimes appalls and sometimes entertains me, and never fails to make me think.

Didn't Louise just nail it?


5 comments:

Bobbie Bentneedle said...

Nancy,
While my conservative Independent political views may not always coincide with yours...LOL... My freedom-embracing American heart is often required to wake up my sluggish brain in order to consider why you and I differ in opinions. That thought-provoking quality, in addition to your lovely family and gorgeous quilts, always makes me smile when my blog-lines notifier tells me you have a new post up.
Thanx for making me think, as well as smile!
Hugs from Texas

Nicole said...

Gosh, I get behind in my blog reading, and you have a series of posts that are dynamite!
Once I attended a party on my own, where I didn't know anyone. Instead of seeking out some woman who looked like she might have the same views as myself, I challenged myself to start a conversation with the person at the party who was the most different from me. There at the buffet table was a very tall gentleman who appeared to be in his 70's or even 80's. He was showing far more interest in what the food offerings were than in any of the other guests. I went up to him and started to chat. and I didn't leave his side all evening. It turned out that this old guy was a Private Detective. "No one ever suspects me" he said. He kept me entertained all night with stories of his adventures and his career. You just never know what you will find when you venture out of your comfort zone.

suz said...

I thoroughly enjoy your blog because I suspect that if I met you, I would hear what I read - that there is no pretense with you. I'm an independent and I don't always agree with what you say, but I respect your opinions because they are part of who you are. I have friends (and family) who are die-hard, extremely conservative Republicans and friends who are ultra-liberal Democrats, friends who, like me, are Independents - I didn't choose them for their political beliefs and I don't leave them behind for them either. My family and I are very much on different sides of the political spectrum, but I don't stop talking to them because of that. Politics is just one part of who we are and any mature person changes and grows over time. I certainly don't hold to some of my college feelings anymore and I was very political in the 60s and 70s. I mostly read your blog because I love the quilting you do and I find the stories about your school and church very interesting. If any of those things bothered me, I'd simply stop. Heaven knows there are plenty of blogs. Why people feel the need to tell you they WON'T read you is beyond my understanding. I'm shortly going to be starting a blog and I suspect I will encounter this sort of thing occasionally. One thing I've learned being a lurker is that you need to be able to erase those comments and move one and try to have a "thick" skin. I'm sure I'll find that much easier said than done. I guess we have to feel sorry for those people who feel the need to "have the last word" so to speak. Please keep writing with your voice. Those of us who follow you appreciate it.

Liz said...

I have you at the top of my "good blogs" list, and check to see what wisdom you are sharing today. Whether or not I happen to share the same opinion, what you have to say is always measured and thoughtful, and mindful of the feelings of the rest of us. So I do count it as true wisdom. I miss you when you take a posting break. I thank you for sharing your personal thoughts on a regular basis, and for making me think a bit harder about some things I might have moved on past.

Liz in CT

Guenveur in Kent said...

I agree that one should listen to or read opinions of thsoe with whom one does not agree. However, it depends on what those opinions are based on. An opinion is not a fact. Opinions based on prejudice, dilike,and ignorance are not ones I can respect. As a liberal, I am willing to enter gray areas rather more readily thase of the true believers who think that their way is the only way.
One of my staff members usd to say, "I may not always be right, but I'm never wron." She was kidding, of cousre. I think.