What Does It Take To Change A Mind?

fight than switchI was talking to my husband the other night. He outlined something, true and disturbing.

He challenged me to think about all the people who were for this person or that person or this entity or whatever. No matter what horrible thing about the person or the entity comes to light, people tend to hold their line. They maintain their opinion and their position on an issue or on a person even when they’re hit with an avalanche of intel on the subject.

Why is this? Are people stubborn. Are people that fixed, they can’t see where they’ve made a wrong judgement and change their mind about something? Or about someone?

Is it because they want to keep (save) their face? Is it lack of humility? Inability to say, I was wrong about this and that, to themselves or others?  Is it because they don’t want to feel regret? Is it because they don’t want someone, some authority figure they resent, to be right. Would they rather fight than switch?

I don’t have a fixed chart. Show me evidence of something and I will get on the side of the truth, quickly. I’ll tell you what people tend to say, when they want to deny the truth and stick with the like.

“I don’t care.”

Your experiences or observations?

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Comments

What Does It Take To Change A Mind? — 46 Comments

  1. My experience is that I do not like to be friends with people who do not want to learn or grow. Learning and growing comes from being able to say “huh, I had no idea, I guess I see that differently now, my apologies”

    I would say two things about this:

    1. This stubbornness feels like a part of internet culture. Real face to face discussions require give and take. Online does not unless you are very secure in yourself OR you value learning and growth more than the other options.

    2. I think that this stubbornness or stuckness is, forgive me for saying this, for not teaching our children tolerance. Everything must be love this and love that but basic tolerance is not taught. No one learns to tolerate coming in second in sports, no one learns to tolerate getting a C in class but instead they get an A for effort. If you learn tolerance you learn that there are other ways of being in this world, you might not agree, you might not like, but you can see it and you can tolerate it.

  2. I prefer my friends to like to learn and grow because they make me think and learn in turn. I should have said that above… I’ve a fair chunk of mutable in my chart.. so…

  3. Change is an uncomfortable journey, especially for those who don’t do it often or at least learn from periods of change and humility. There’s comfort in settling deep into ones stoic roots, continually wearing those stale shoes. You can maintain your identity in a sense.
    But there’s also a mob-mentality. No one wants to be part of the “different” crowd. Experiencing cognitive dissonance probably isn’t fun at a later age in life.
    I haven’t watched Mayweather box since I first heard of his crimes, but I get made fun of by my friends. They all have this inclusive club in which I’m not a part of….by choice on my behalf which they sometimes forget. I also have a cell phone that’s nearly 4 years old, again by choice and again I’m ousted because I refuse to continue this game called “upgrade” on an annual basis. It also keeps me from meeting cute girls because they think that not being part of the “in crowd” also means you can’t afford to pretend.
    There are millions of people who do or say things that counter their true desires or intentions. I have friends like this but it doesn’t make any of us better than the other, just with different opinions and goals.
    I find this odd because America is looked at by many cultures as a place where being an individual is very important as opposed to being part of a whole, as contrasted to Chinese or Japanese people are, so when I come across Americans who are stubborn about issues that clearly seem illogical, I question their individuality, whether their opinion is regurgitated from another or self-made and processed through their personal filter.

  4. After writing this, I asked my husband why he thought people were this way. “Closed minded. And let’s face it. They’re not that bright. They’re just not very smart.”

  5. I’m more understanding of this stoic attitude as I grow up, but I do reach a limit. If I find someone being too stuffy I run for the hills, out of fear.

  6. I read a great quote recently that really resonated, apropos of this topic: “Real spirituality is a quest for truth in all its forms…”–Jeff Brown. The search for Truth has always been a big part of my spiritual focus. (Jupiter/9th/Pisces conjunct MC). I discovered that I’m far more Truth-driven than ego-driven these days… and that’s a real victory. It’s so much easier to just say “I was wrong” than it is to doggedly defend an untenable position. Not everyone has figured that out yet, I guess.

  7. That advertisement is OUTRAGEOUS. Really hilarious…

    At least talking politics, I think people often won’t change their mind because their options are so severely limited, it is the norm to accept baloney, so long as it is not as bad as the (sometimes single) alternative. It is hard to accept “no available option is satisfactory,” but that is often the case. Unfortunately, people just stick with what they went with in the past. It’s of course not just with politics; maybe it is something cultural, like we see it as strong to stick to your guns. And I agree with your husband: many people are just plain ignorant, and don’t know any better.

    I’m a pretty fixed person, but I also think a change of mind can be a good, strong thing. I find that more often, saving face equates with changing your mind as soon as you see you’re thinking is wrong, rather than keeping your stock in something that is clearly headed in the wrong direction.

  8. My Pisces Moon opposes Pluto and my Leo Sun is opposed Saturn.

    I posted a social media comment about a heartwarming story where a stranger showed my child some kind attention while I was having difficulties controlling his childish meltdown, and how grateful I was to this stranger for redirecting my kid while I was having difficulty coping with it at the time. Many people enjoyed reading it.

    Then, out of nowhere a devoted family man just shredded me with insults. It was so shocking, so unprovoked and so hurtful. It came from someone who took pride in their well mannered brood of small children. Someone who appeared to be a dedicated church goer.

    Should we let a stranger’s unprovoked rant get to us? Of course not. It’s bullying behavior. Except with me, it happens every single time. I literally can make a statement that “the sky is blue, have a nice day” and guaranteed someone is going to come out of the woodwork and kick sand in my face about it. So much so that others leave the same shocked remarks I think of, like why and who would be so bizarre to mock such a thing.

    And I feel it’s my natal placements, that my luminaries are blocked by oppositions that represent others in hard aspect to my feelings and will. That try as I may, I will always suffer socially and will for whatever reason be the target of unprovoked rage for reasons out of my control. It hurts, man it hurts but then I remember my Sun trine Jupiter and my Moon trine Neptune and realize the yin and yang promised in our natal chart and how grateful I found out about astrology to explain the unexplainable.

    • Sherry, appreciate your sharing this awareness of how your chart plays out.. Reminds me to pay closer attention to dynamics that repeat for me!

  9. Biologically, this is termed motivated reasoning. We humans feel before we think – it’s a primitive survival mechanism – and therefore our default is to rationalize contradictions to our own beliefs rather than change how we ‘feel’ about something, thereby reinforcing our own beliefs, even in the face of factual evidence to the contrary.

    And Elsa’s husband is kinda right because to respond otherwise, as Wiki puts it,
    ‘Subjects must possess appropriate reasoning strategies,
    They must view these as superior to other strategies,
    And be capable of using them at will.’

    From climate change to abusive priests, society is full of examples of our self-delusion.

    I find studying ourselves and especially how our brain/mind works is both fascinating and illuminating: we can learn a lot about ourselves and discover practical solutions to personal and societal problems when we make allowances for the way our minds really work.

    Brain science has made tremendous progress in the 40+ years since I first studied it and I highly recommend many of the exciting books for laypeople available today.

  10. I agree with what ulrika said and I’d like to add power of image and money personal interest. If a person is charismatic, beautiful and sexy you she/ he can be a thief or a killer and it could be a mountain of proof, people will be stuck on the pretty face and smile. Also, when someone refuses to acknowledge the bad character of another it could mean that they have a personal interest in keeping up with the lie.
    But this all can be resumed in people being not that smart, like your husband called it.

  11. My chart is mutable; I am a Gemini to boot. I have been called flaky or wishy-washy because I DO change my mind in light of new evidence/facts/etc. I don’t think this is a bad trait at all; and if Elsa’s husband wants to associate this with open mindedness and intelligence, hey, I am all for it 🙂

  12. The majority of people I know who are like this latched on to some group ideology that made them feel like they belonged. Like they had a tribe. They weren’t confident enough with their own opinions so they let others make opinions for them. Once they became emotionally, financially invested it became very important to defend the ideals of the group, otherwise they’d risk everything to speak their mind. I’ve seen this happen to right-wing folks and left-wing folks. In secular and non-secular groups. It can happen to anyone.

  13. I tend to agree. In my experience I feel some people also know their locked-down opinions benefit them, i.e., no new data to disturb a profitable status quo…and so they seem to train their minds to reject new or opposing data.

    So I agree with him re the stupid group, but add another group: happily, cunningly blind, to the point it is intrinsic to their character. Does that make sense? What would it take to change minds like these? Probably money, more power, something a lot more sparkly, and guaranteed.

  14. It’s loyalty. People often talk about loyalty like it is the most important thing. A certain amount of denial is necessary to maintain loyalty. It’s just the name of the game. Puttin up with it to remain loyal. And some of it is just doing what a person has always done. All 3 of my sisters announced their jubilation on the day each of them bought underwear that weren’t white. Mom was all white. Not sure they had colors then. I saw my first colored pair of underwear when I was 15, patterned even. My sister got them from someone somewhere, most likely a gift. I thought they looked fun. She didn’t wear em, so I did. Stupid example, but the one that came to mind.

  15. I think it depends on the fixed areas of someones chart, for instance my husband is an Aquarius Sun and Moon with a Scorpio rising he is fixed but that Aquarian part shows up more like he has his own ideas about things (quirky as they may be) and does not allow himself to be influenced by the opinion of others. He is not unwilling to take in new data or adjust his position but he will only adjust as he sees fit from his interpretation of the new info. His sister on the other hand is fixed in her chart by a taurus moon and leo mars. She tends to be more that she is going to believe what she wants to believe because it fits how she wants to see things and lets no amount of truth get in her way. This is what I think is cool about astrology when you can see the generalities like fixed signs and drill down on the nuances by looking at the sign itself, house placement and aspects to see how individual it becomes. Aquarius husband has two Aquarius brothers all 3 men very true to their sun sign but all 3 different expressions of it.

  16. oh change, I do it when what I am doing isn’t working anymore. Yes, I may be an odd duck ecclectic individual, but the outer world and the times I live in do have an effect on my life and I do make adjustments and then there are those ever needed inner growth thingies. I have a thing about being comfortable. Cancer placements you know. Comfortable is my compass.

  17. I always thought it was a result of being extreme. Meaning that people go so over the top for something or someone that they don’t leave any room to walk it back if evidence comes to light that would dampen support. I have a pretty fixed chart (sun and mercury in scorpio asc in taurus) but I like to think I’ve changed my mind plenty of times when evidence proved my initial opinion/belief unsustainable. I might not always admit it or broadcast that change of mind though…

  18. omg that image: would rather fight than switch. yup. i’m highly mutable i can see all sides but at the end of the day i know what i like, and if i like it alot, and it works great for me, and i won’t change that. it’s that EASY: stubborn and determination! fight to the death kind of thing.

  19. oh and if people try to bully me and manipulate me into wanting what i should do, and they are more powerful than me, like say they are strong and muscly and can beat me up, i will quietly just be agreeing so that i won’t get beat up (self preservation) and then leave quietly so that person doesn’t bother me anymore. they dont respect my decisions and they are abusing me for it, so there is respect anymore, they don’t love my decision and respect it, can’t be around that.

  20. Oh this is an interesting topic and just recently, I changed my opinion about Bill Cosby. I had stood with him until his admissions came out and well, I switched sides on that one. Having proof of some sort can change my mind on topics like this one; however, on other topics I hold to a rigid viewpoint. I have five fixed placements and five mutable, with one cardinal placement. So, I live in a tug of war on things. It is also something about the Uranus vs Pluto situation now that is determined to drag us kicking and screaming into change. Our world is being changed whether we like it or not and this is hard to get used to. In the end, it doesn’t matter if we don’t want to change, we will be forced to do so.

  21. Generally people don’t want to admit mistakes, you’re right, they would rather lash out verbally or physically than admit wrong. Ego versus humble pie. It doesn’t take us very far to put ego first. I’ve got lots of mutable and cardinal, few fixed placements and at the moment I’m going through a steep learning curve, I have to eat humble pie (a lot lately -) but hey I want to grow up and do good things, change things for better. I have to see thr truth as it is and that means I sometimes get it wrong, very wrong. We need to wise up and grow up, egoism is so infantile and can push us into ‘sheep mentality’ we need to be brave, and break away from the crowd if it means we are going to compromise truth.

  22. I’m hoping to find out through this book that I’m reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. The first 3 chapters basically said that people clam up, once they are criticized or/and not feeling appreciated or/and not able to see any benefits. They did mention a part where I thought was very true. People are emotional, we are not born logical. Most of us learn to be logical. We are human species that intertwine emotions with logic/intellect.

    As Pisces rising, I am able to see the other side of story easily but if anyone does above, I’m VERY unlikely to be receptive at that particular moment, lol.

  23. A vile female co-worker recently left the workplace and there are still residual poison still left behind in her absence. There are still co-workers defending her position when everyone knows she is the MEANEST bitch alive with evidence from her private conversations. I was the Scorpio Moon/Saturn/Pluto that dug up the truth. She manipulated others and excluded/isolated others to serve her low self-confidence and insecurities. I was of course hated for it for invading boundaries and the vile co-worker furthered her slander on me even til the day that she left. It is just sickening that many were injusticed, hurt, bullied, betrayed by her actions for no good reason and to have these people still DEFEND her vile actions? It doesn’t make sense at all. She had no right to disrespect others and for the victims to still be battered by her lowly servants after she is gone is insane.

  24. Im with you…presented with credible information, I will change my opinions even though I have a lot of Taurus. I read a world-class daily paper to stay current…but often find that people are insular, believing what the neighbors believe about the world in a sort of lazy herd-mentality which feels safe and requires little thought.

  25. I think we’ve been lied to by “authority figures” claiming to be experts so often even opinions from upstanding citizens are subject to scrutiny. Most times I suspend disbelief until i can look up and verify the stated facts presented to me through multiple sources. Truth lies in the overlap. Other times I go with my gut feeling. I don’t automatically assume something is a fact just because someone claiming to be reputable says it is so. I test it out for myself. You can easily find a reputable person with an opposite belief. Some facts are indisputable but most facts can be skewed to appear one way or the other. There’s a saying about it being okay to believe something as long as you don’t believe it %100. To leave room for other possibilities. Sometimes small lies are embedded in a massive amount of truths so you mistakenly assume the small lie must be true also. There’s some crafty liars out there and they are paid big bucks to dupe the shit out of thousands of people. I try to be careful about anything that I haven’t experienced personally. The only real proof is personal experience. You can’t tell someone who has experienced a fact first-hand that what they experienced isn’t real. Others can flap their jaws all day long…it’s not going to change what you know to be true.

  26. Just wanted to make the distinction between people who are intransigent in their thoughts/opinions and those who keep their own counsel.

    I am fixed-sign dominant (Leo/Scorpio) and of the latter category. I don’t care about “what is done” or “what everyone else is doing”. However, I will change my mind about a subject in an instant, provided I am convinced by sound facts or a solid argument.

    In my experience, the people I’ve met who are the most stubborn and unwilling to hear anything that conflicts with their existing opinions have been mutable-sign dominant. Not sure what that is about. The Geminis and Pisceans I seem to be surrounded by (my closest friends and beloved family) are *crazy* in sticking to their beliefs and opinions even after it is clear that they (the opinions) are intrinsically wrong, or on the wrong side of the cultural zeitgeist.

    Maybe the sea creature who is always being pulled this way and that by the tides is more determined to hold onto a rock for security… Just a thought.

  27. It’s not stupidity; it’s the way the human brain works. Turns out that once you give the brain a single idea, whether it is true or not, the brain instantly, and much (much) faster than reason, puts together a whole story through an interconnected synaptic network and wraps it around that single idea. To change the idea, you have to unravel and disconnect the whole synaptic network. THAT is what is hard to do.

    And what is the astrology for that process? It’s Jupiter, of course. While Gemini/Mercury is chasing after every little fact that bleeps on its radar screen, wings on his feet to help him, trying to figure out what the story is, Jupiter/Sag has already woven the story together.

    Pluto, he grinds away at the whole thing, unraveling it slowly. Uranus suddenly, out of the blue, might — MIGHT — pluck the one thing that dissolves the whole synaptic knot. Saturn, astrological archetype of reason, just doesn’t get it, because change not reasonable or logical.

    It’s amazing and life changing.

  28. For me it’s where I live. If I don’t stand up to bullies then I wont be able to enjoy where I live. Lately I cant even sit on my porch and for years I cant enjoy the little beach by my home. But I’ll be damned if I can’t even take a walk on my street w/o controversy.

    • Hello Elsa! This is different than facebook!
      Being a sun & moon Taurus w/ Mars in Scorpio I felt compelled to join this discussion.

  29. As a 12th house Cap sun, Aquarius rising I prefer to research to arrive at my own opinions and if further research offers a “that rings true” different viewpoint, I will change my stance. This is a great discussion Elsa – thanks for proposing the subject!

  30. sunk cost: you’ve invested a certain amount of your identity into an ideal, or whatever, and a lot of people have trouble letting go of what’s already been spent. i’ve been like this with friends, hanging on far far past the point where i should have left (i think maybe it’s a saturn/uranus square thing, in my case) so- a saturn sort of thing, maybe.
    we identify with what we feed. it can be painful to let go of elements of one’s identity, no matter how negative, or based upon fallacies…

    so, perhaps, also, an element of the interactions with the sun, and the moon?

      • first big red flag: Her husband. I could take up a lifetime to discuss, but let’s just say “No matter what horrible thing about the person or the entity comes to light, people tend to hold their line. They maintain their opinion and their position on an issue or on a person even when they’re hit with an avalanche of intel on the subject.” … ((it really can not be love that factors))

        All of my life she has been “fixed” her opinion, her way. The End. Not up for discussion. Take it or leave it, and by all means there is the door.

        She does have a pleasant side, only when it’s fru fru entertainment. **

  31. I have a fixed chart predominantly but I have a mutable Saturn (Sadge) and moon (Pisces) so I change. My opinion about someone doesn’t stay the same and I think some people don’t want to see things about someone because they want to save face. It’s easier and more appropriate to pretend that what’s real isn’t real. And then the same people who do that have all kinds of effd up justifications. Annoying.

  32. Although I have sun & moon in Taurus, my Venus, Merc & Jupiter are in Aries. Saturn & Nep in Libra. Gemini Asc. So yes I do change sometimes a bit too fast. People cant keep up w/ me.

  33. I can change my mind under these circumstances, but I find it disappointing sometimes, which is what makes it hard. For example, Lance Armstrong admitting to cheating – that broke my heart. I loved his story. But oh well, the truth is, he’s a cheater. It’s also tough because it makes you wonder if you can trust anything. I think people want to believe, especially if it’s something important to them. Makes denial easy.

  34. They will never admit to being wrong or completely corrupt until they are prosecuted for completely corrupt illegal and immoral acts.

  35. I’m a sun & moon Taurus so you’d think that it would be extremely difficult to change my mind but I can be very flexible. When I’m not its only because at 64 yrs of age I try to stick with what has worked for me in the past and not make too many stupid mistakes like I have in my past.

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