It’s practically impossible for me to speak/write these two words without recalling the hard-hitting rhythm of Bobby Brown’s hit song, “My Prerogative.”
It’s my prerogative to change my mind. Often, I’m forced to change my mind when confronted with new evidence. Technology and science are constantly providing new information that forces me to rethink my previous stances. Consider hormone replacement theory. First it’s bad, then it’s good, then it’s bad again, then good again but only in certain doses. Whole milk is good for you, then bad, then good again. Carbs versus protein, etc. The debates are never-ending and one must occasionally acknowledge a change in position when confronted with new evidence.
While working on my Masters degree in legal services, I was on vacation with my family and about to start a homework assignment when my brother-in-law inquired about my work. I told him the topic on which I was given and how I had to present my opinion based solely on facts. As I had not yet started to research, I was 100% certain of my opinion and I explained to him why. I expected to spend my vacation finding sources to support my position. Yet, after days of research, I was forced to change my mind. The final argument I presented was completely opposite of what I initially believed. Even to hear myself say it out loud seemed impossible but my new stance was based on extensive research and facts.
This memory comes back to me every time, I see, or hear, someone staunchly defending their own opinion, often belittling anyone who offers an alternative opinion. I understand. It’s entirely possible to believe your assessment of a situation is the only appropriate assessment. Yet, I often wonder if they had the whole story and all of the underlying facts, would they too be open to changing their minds?
I’ve come to the conclusion that changing one’s mind about something is a good thing. The last few years have meant a complete upheaval in re-evaluating my personal stances on religion, race, government,….it’s all a work in progress. Those who knew me 20 years ago, might not recognize the person I am today. I wonder if they are also re-evaluating their own viewpoints or have they just cemented their feet more deeply into their existing convictions, without substantiating evidence? It’s my prerogative to choose with whom I surround myself. Close friends of mine don’t have to possess the same beliefs as I but they must be open to discussion, open to receiving new information. If not, like Bobby Brown said in the song, “I really don’t care.”
According to Wikipedia, Brown wrote the song “as a response to criticism he received for his departure from New Edition.” It was his way of defending his right to make his own decisions without “caring about other people’s judgment.”