Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thinking hard...

I just listened to Cory Doctorow (you may know one of his outlets: boingboing) speak at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) on the twists, turns and evils of digital copyright and the forgotten creator. If the subject interests you, it was podcast live and will most likely be circulating as I write. 

I left the event, as I sometimes do, having spoken to no one. My sole purpose was to hear the speaker and maybe evolve an opinion of my own.

So why make it the topic of a networking/mentoring blog post? Because of something one audience member said. In introducing her question, she pointed out that everyone in the audience was "part of the choir", implying that we were of one mind even before listening to the presentation. 

Now it is useful, enjoyable or even uplifting to be in a room of like-minds. But it got me thinking... as often as we attend/participate in things for which we already have an affinity - how many times do we also seek out the unknown or even the oppposing view? Is it a reflection of insecurity or blinkered approaches that would cause someone to only go to safe/known opinions/events etc.? I know the current North American movie industry is born of this phenomenon but can we as "thinkers"/mentors/ leaders buck the trend?

I had no opinion - as an artist or consumer - on the topic tonight. I felt I should have one and this was the start of my research. But it made me question how deeply I choose to look when investigating issues - and how deeply I press my mentorees to look. 

Would I choose to seek out the other side of the argument (e.g. digital locks = goodness) or, once a nascent opinion is formed, stop there till new information might cross my path? Do I challenge others to do so or encourage them to find like minds to buffer ourselves against challenge?

Of course, depending on the size of the issue and the personal impact, the journey to become informed is smaller or bigger. But is my process to learn/think and form new ideas/opinions based on the easiest access to information or a desire to truly examine issues? How far am I willing to go to become informed? Am I willing to risk having to change my mind if I get enough new information? Shouldn't I be so willing? Am I consciously choosing to keep challenging myself on important issues that way?

I'll have to think about that...

1 comment:

Barb and David said...

I read an interesting online argument against creationism once where the evolutionary biologist refused to debate anyone who could not envision evidence that could change their mind on the subject of evolution. To his credit, when asked what would make him stop believing in evolution, he replied "proof of rabbits in the cretaceous period" (spelling?). I have tried at times to imagine the evidence that would change my mind regarding my beliefs in politics, economics, ethics, etc. When i can't come up with an answer, I don't know if i makes a me a true believer or just narrow-minded.