I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same subject.
I once knew a classical musician who traveled the world as a soloist with some of the major orchestras. One day he told me a story about one of the esteemed groups he played with. It seems the conductor had decided long ago exactly how every piece of music should be played and he never deviated from it. My friend, who was a young man at the time, tried to introduce some alternative interpretations and was scolded into towing the conductor's line.
Other musicians have often told of coming back to a piece they played well years ago and discovering new things about it they didn't know before, subtle things, matters of interpretation.
I had the pleasure of coming back to roles I had played before and finding deeper meanings in them. There were 2 plays by Arthur Miller and 2 by Eugene O"Neill that I returned to. And Other People's Money I managed to do 3 times. Returning to those plays was a rich experience in some ways but it was more about opening my thoughts to larger issues about the plays and the characters.
May heaven protect the world from closed mindedness. There are people who have decided on the "right" way of thinking or doing something, and thus it becomes the "only" way, and they simply will not listen to an alternative or conflicting point of view. They say "I know what I know, and you're not going to convince me otherwise."
When the rough and tumble squabble about religion starts some people wrap themselves up in the cozy word "faith" and let it go at that.
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had that sort of one track mind. There would be no innovation, no experimentation, no discoveries, no risk taking. No progress.
Admittedly it is difficult to hold in thought several ides about anything specific, to mull them over and to compare one with the others. But where and when has it ever been written that real thinking is easy?
I'm a voracious reader (you've heard that old saying before). I read mainly philosophy, history, science, religion and psychology. In those books and magazines are ideas, well articulated, about everything from ancient Mesopotamian crafts to modern football tactics. The excellent scholars I read often disagree with each other. There are probably as many theories about the Reformation in Europe, how and why it happened, as there are about Kennedy's assassination. None of those topics has a direct bearing on my life except to satisfy my curiosity. I know what I think, but I welcome having my thoughts challenged and my mind changed. Besides, the vast fields of knowledge are available to me in my attempt to understand how the world goes and what life is all about. And I will think about more than two things at the same time.
So if you want to sing your one note loud and clear, that's fine. Just don't come around knocking at my brain. But if you enjoy tossing ideas in the air like a juggler, let's talk.
DB -The Vagabond
Never Give Up