Not always so: Intellectual flexibility and stubbornness

by Bob Schwartz

“This is the secret of the teaching. It may be so, but it is not always so. Without being caught by words or rules, without many preconceived ideas, we actually do something, and doing something, we apply our teaching.”
Shunryu Suzuki

One may be very smart, somewhat smart, somewhat not smart or very not smart. One thing widely shared is intellectual stubbornness. That is: I’ve thought this through and I am unalterably sure I am right.

Some problems. Those who believe they’ve “thought things through” may or may not have. Even if they’ve thought things through, they or the situation or the world may have changed. In fact, they and the situation and the world have changed, for certain. It is the truth of everything changes.

Intellectual stubbornness is easy. Once you make the initial effort, your thinking can be locked down. Intellectual flexibility is hard. “I don’t know” and “I am wrong” are two phrases that don’t come easily to many people. “I know” and “I am right” is so much simpler. Even if they don’t and they aren’t.

© 2022 Bob Schwartz