Sometimes thoughts and ideas change. Sometimes they grow and shift from one way to another; and sometimes they even shift their way back again. The way we think and what we believe comes as a result of a complex construction of your environment, upbringing, experiences, and practically everything else that you come into contact with in the world. As we grow older and build new memories with the various pieces of life that make us who we are, sometimes the thoughts we gathered in order to answer complex questions evolve and modify, and that’s completely okay.
You won’t ever know every single piece of knowledge that has ever been leaked out into the world because you are not every single person on the planet. One person can never walk in everyone shoes because they are just one single person, but you can definitely try your best. Even super geniuses and the most adventurous travelers can’t see or know it all. The flow of knowledge that comes into the world never ceases, and the range of different perspectives never stops accumulating.
You would probably have to have been alive at the start of life’s existence and then have died long after all other life was depleted before you could possibly know it all, and even then every pair of eyes that has have seen something, every ear that has ever heard a sound, every square inch of skin that has ever touched, every tongue that has tasted, every nose that has smelled, and every mind that has thought could not be collected for you to have experienced it all. You’ll never get the full story because every single living thing in the universe has played a part in its making.
I read an article on the Huffington Post about Jonathan Krohn, a guy who practically became the poster child of conservatism back when he was only 13 years old. He spoke about how there should be a shift back towards conservatism at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009, and everyone pictured him “as a future star of the Republican Party.” A year later he even wrote a non-fiction political book called “Defining Conservatism.”
Krohn, who’s now 17, looks back on his past and cringes because the ideas he thought were tried and true are no longer the same ideas he holds dear to him today. Krohn’s now no longer a conservative, and that’s completely fine. One idea isn’t better than the other, they’re just different, and sometimes thoughts and ideas change.
“I think it was naive,” Krohn now says of the speech. “It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia. We’re inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough.”
Sometimes I think even the oldest of individuals on this planet feel as though they haven’t done enough because they know there is no possible way that they have done it all. Yes it takes time to formulate opinions and experience is needed for wisdom, but it takes more than a lifetime to know it all.
“I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff,” Krohn said. “I started getting into philosophy — Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers — Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful. It wasn’t me thinking. It was just me saying things I had heard so long from people I thought were interesting and just came to believe for some reason, without really understanding it. I understood it enough to talk about it but not really enough to have a conversation about it.”
And it’s that interaction and the ongoing conversation about life, the universe, and all that’s in it that you need before you can grasp even a little bit about what you think you believe. Things change, people grow, ideas shift, but the world keeps on spinning swiftly dizzying heads while we all try to “figure it all out” (whatever it is).