It has been said that the only people who never change their minds are the dead and the insane. Some clever person said that, I think. It is also a truism that you can never change your mind online. You are too emotionally invested, and don’t want to lose face.
Online debating grounds are renowned for their extremes, and speculations have arisen in the wake of the “Internet Tough Guy Turns Real-Life Spree Killer” phenomenon: will you turn into a violent maniac if you surround yourself with sycophantic, disembodied intellects that communicate with you online?
My contention is that you will not.
My reason for saying so is that I have changed my mind a lot over the past few years, ever since I became active online, and I have actually become more conciliatory, more moderate, more tolerant. And that’s saying something.
I used to be a Socialist, among other things. It’s OK to be one; it’s just not for me. I find being one goes directly against my value judgements. But they’re my value judgements. They could even be wrong.
I used to be a radical atheist of the proverbial fire-and-brimstone type. I can no longer be one. It’s incompatible with who I am. But I still like many radical atheists.
You know who changed my mind about those things? People online. Some of them may even read this and remember when I changed my mind. They “won” an argument with me. Actually, that’s not fair to say – an argument is really won when a person understands a better way to live in reality in concord with their own principles.
To those of you who changed my mind: thank you for winning me over. I owe you.