In celebration of her tenth year of Brain Pickings, Maria offers us ten of her life-earned core beliefs. This is rich stuff so they will be offered one at a time over the next ten weeks. If you’re impatient or want more, go to Brain Pickings and get your own subscription. Incredibly, this feast is still free … although she accepts donations, suggesting a donation level ranging from “a cup of tea to a good dinner.”
1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for “negative capability.” We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.In today's political turbulence, changing your mind is attacked as a personal failure, as if we should be fixed ... and right ... in all of our thoughts and beliefs from age six on. What happened to thinking about all aspects of a question, gathering opinions, weighing the long-term ramifications, exploring the possible unintended consequences?
Here is the first in Maria Popova's list of things she loved reading and writing about:
Love, Lunacy, and a Life Fully Lived: Oliver Sacks, the Science of Seeing, and the Art of Being Seen