My Brain is Wishy-Washy

I’ve done a lot of talking around here in the past year. A lot of babbling. Only a tiny fraction of it is probably at all worthwhile. It’s okay. I didn’t start this blog to do anything important. I didn’t start this ever expecting others to read it. From the very beginning it was supposed to be a little silly.

Somehow I have found myself researching more serious subjects as I engage deeper with the animal world. I didn’t expect my dorky little hobby to cause me to start questioning previously held values. I am hesitant to bring anything up here. Not because I am afraid of controversy but because I am still learning. I am still unsure where I stand on many issues. I don’t want to say something in such a public space, if two months later I am going to believe the exact opposite. There are numerous books on my reading list as I try to piece it all together.

I almost didn’t post anything for Blog the Change last week. There are a lot of new things going on in my brain and at this point I am not sure I have anything of value to contribute. It’s very messy in this head of mine. Even now it has taken me over twenty minutes to type this much. I am trying to be very careful to articulate exactly what I feel instead of just shooting my mouth off without thinking, as I tend to do. There are enough people making blanket judgments with little knowledge. The world doesn’t need me adding to the flames.

I’ve always believed strongly in keeping an open mind. Every issue can have over twenty different perspectives. Since I am very new to animal welfare, I feel like I need to pay attention to every side of the box. Test the corners, see which one holds up against the elements. Often, I don’t know if there even is one right way to think or one better opinion. They all come from a valid space. But there is one opinion that works best for me. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found it.

The problem is, while I am discovering all this new information, I want to share what I am learning. Talking usually helps work out all the jumbled thoughts. I don’t know if this space is the right medium for that. That doesn’t mean I don’t think it is important to talk. I think most people need to speak up more, not less. But for me, right now, I feel like I need to do a lot more listening.

I wish I was able to feel as confident in my stance as many other blog writers. They all seem to know exactly what to say and what questions to ask. I feel like a little kid sometimes in comparison. It wasn’t too long ago I trusted absolutely everything I read one hundred percent. The written word was everything. For some bizarre reason, if something was published on a piece of paper, I thought it had to be true. Law. Set in stone. Now I find myself questioning everything. Even things that used to seem so basic. Scientists, politicians, statistics, psychologists, none of them are free from my scrutiny. These days I just don’t know what is right. My skepticism knows no bounds.

Am I completely alone in feeling so confused? Does anyone else feel as lost as I do when confronted with mind-boggling new information?

20 thoughts on “My Brain is Wishy-Washy

  1. I think confused and murky is a good thing. At least I hope it is because that’s the ground I’m standing on right now too.

    I think absolute certainty without humility is the most dangerous mindset one can have. Questioning, researching, listening, growing–that’s what we’re called as humans to do. That’s why we have the kinds of brains we have (which still play tricks on us and make us think we know things we really don’t).

    I think your professors at school would be proud of you. It sounds like you’re working out the kinds of questions a history degree prepares you to ask–what’s true, why do different people have different perspectives, will it stand the test of time?

    But enough pondering for now. Honey is ready to deliver her guest lecture on The Informative Messages Found in P-mail on an Urban Walk.

    I look forward to hearing more about your ponderings in the future.

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  2. I’ve been lost a long time. Decades. And because there’s so much easy accessible information out there these days, I don’t expect my murky mind to get any clearer.

    I enjoy reading what other people think. Sometimes, I think it’s even more important and interesting to hear opposing views than ones that mirror my own. You’re right. No one view can be black and white, right or wrong. The world is much more complicated than that. Your open mind and willingness to question and engage is wonderful! Don’t ever lose that, Ms T 🙂

    Happy Easter xox

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  3. Nope, you’re definitely not alone. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s tough to sort through it all. I think it’s just important to keep an open mind and decide for yourself what you think is right.

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  4. I agree with the sentiments above. Don’t you think that your ability to question and think about the subtleties of different perspectives is a sign of intellectual evolution? Sometimes I think that when everything is easy, and what to think seems black and white, it’s just because you haven’t really thought about it enough. I think it takes a lot of courage to write openly about your current state of mind and the things you’re thinking about, and even more courage to admit that your perspective has changed. You have done both, and it makes my little heart swell with admiration for you. Having a little insight into what’s going on in your head and heart as you wrestle with really complicated ideas is one of the things that makes me rush to your blog every morning.
    Just sayin’.

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  5. What you just wrote is me as well. You talk about your journey in learning, all of the different theories and ideas, all of the books, etc. I find the journey I am having is one to share. It is one to write about even if you change the next week.

    This is the right forum to put down what you are thinking and with a little more confidence you may get there. Every time I write a post where my thoughts are in it I Hesitate briefly before hitting the post button.

    The journey and being open minded about animals is a great way to be. Never stop being that way. 🙂

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  6. Nope…you’re not alone at all. There are many, many things that I have an opinion on that don’t get addressed on the blog. Mainly, for me, it’s because I usually DO believe there are two sides to every story and I never want anyone to think I don’t respect their opinions. For instance, I personally dislike Cesar Milan’s approach to dog training because I think it sets up an adversarial relationship with one’s dog. But I know there are people who feel passionately about him and perhaps in some way, he HAS helped some dog owners who might otherwise have given up. So it’s simply not a subject I’m going to take on in my blog because, to be quite honest, it’s just not something I want to argue about.

    On the other hand, I HAVE addressed BSL because it is absolutely 100% wrong. While I can understand how emotions play into it, there is ZERO scientific or statistical proof that it EVER works. Therefore, I am not hesitant to talk about it. I have done my research and I know without a doubt that there really isn’t another side to that story. And I feel so passionately about it that if I DO have a reader who disagrees, I really don’t mind losing or offending that reader. Because, well, they’re wrong and I’m right. Ha! Of course, very few things in life are so black and white.

    I think it’s perfectly okay to think out loud on your blog as long as you’re prepared to listen to and deal with the people who disagree with you. If not, then it’s perfectly okay to just mull it over in your head until you get to the point where you ARE ready to take on that challenge.

    MayzieMom

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  7. I think that having a standpoint, and retracting it later on based on new information is a good thing. It shows an ability to change. So, I wouldn’t be afraid to post how you feel/what you think regularly.

    And if you feel like you should be doing more listening than talking right now, go with it. It may help you “hash out” some of the things going on in your head.

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  8. I used to believe everything that I read until I met my husband, Sean. He is very interested in “world” issues and is a question everything kind of person. And that’s a good thing.

    When I first started to blog, I could barely string two sentances together. It had been so long since actually wrote anything of substance!

    So I have a few tips for you; If you are interested in an issue that you want to write about, bookmark articles of interest and go back to them frequently to ruminate. Start draft posts on the blog and edit frequently. Once your article is “finished”, wait a few hours or a day to publish, something else you want to say might come to you.

    No one is free of scrutiny and skepticism is ALWAYS a good thing!

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  9. Questioning the world and its issues is a good place to be. It induces huge changes in your personal life and change is something you should look forward to, no matter how hard it may be to make a specific change. Don’t shy away from this opportunity. 🙂 Dive in.

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  10. Kristine, this is a very wise post. Two things I am sure of – No Kill Nation is achievable and, along with Mayzie, BSL is never right, never a solution. The rest, I am trying to listen more along with you and I do welcome discussion. Blog on!

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  11. The waters are definitely murky out there. There is SUCH a wide gap between the old school and the new school of thinking when it comes to food, training, lifestyle. And those are just the well-researched difference of opinion – in addition to those, there are a tons of posts that aren’t well researched or that what they post flies in the face of the research. It’s tough to figure out where you stand and I am constantly questioning my beliefs. We’re all a work in progress.

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  12. Yeah, there is so very much information out there and there are usually not only 2 sides of a story but several. Getting a full picture can be a challenge.

    I am leery of the “this is the only way that is right” statements that litter the web. That kind of content generates more clicks, views and RT’s… but it’s just not true and totally freaks me out (although… sometimes I really do think that what I think really is the ONLY right way to look at something, so I suppose I am a total hypocrite :)).

    I’m not sure how this fits in- but I think we always reserve the right to change our minds. Politics shows us that even if we do change our minds something we said in the past can be cut, pasted and thrown in our face… but I think that now that blogging and tweeting and facebooking our way to understanding becomes more commonplace we will and should be given more leeway.

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  13. You’re not alone at all, and I will say that I usually find you very eloquent and wise in your words. There are plenty of bloggers that I really look up to for one reason or another.

    I also think that there usually isn’t a right and wrong, just a lot of different perspectives that come from a lot of different backgrounds and experiences. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that you’ve grown or learned as a person and that your feelings have changed or evolved, either. There are few things in the world that live in stasis. I thank you for making me think yet again, too!

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  14. Your thoughts and opinions – are your thoughts and opinions. Right or wrong – agree or not – we are all justified in what we think and what we feel. Often how we think – or what we think – or how and what we feel – changes many times through our life. It doesn’t mean that a previous opinion was wrong – it means we didn’t know as much as we do now. What confusion means is that you are still learning, changing, evaluating your knowledge in a different way – grasping new ideas, experiencing life in a new way. Welcome to the human experience. I hate to say it Kristine – but in reality – your normal.

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  15. Yes, I struggle with all sorts of beliefs and theories and as I muddles through all of it. Usually I take bits and pieces from everything as they work for me. I usually stay out of the bigger issue and just relate my experience, strength and hope. If blogging and the internet had been around when I got my first dog, I would be a complete mess. It’s understandable, there is a ton of info and it is easy not knowing what to believe is true. Everything always seem to be controversy.

    My suggestion would be to stick to your gut and your heart. They will never lead you wrong. NEVER. And you will find your way. 🙂

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  16. Well, now, Kristine, I don’t understand why you’d feel somehow ‘inferior’ to other bloggers. Your blog is one of the nicest and best written I’ve seen, and I mean it. Your humble attitude is to be admired, though.
    I, too, struggle to put words together quite often, although (I hope) you can’t always tell from the posts that get published. My problem is that I have too much to say and it’s hard to keep it all structured and filter out the uninteresting or unnecessary bits. Being a trained linguist doesn’t help either, as I tend to be very critical and deconstruct every sentence I come up with. Mad, really. After all, just like you, I started the blog for myself like a kind of a diary, so I shouldn’t be so preoccupied with perfection (or how my posts come accross with other people, for that matter).

    I’d say, just keep writing like you have been, that’s why I love your blog! 😉

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  17. I totally agree – there’s so much info out there that it’s hard to know which side to land on sometimes! I think that the way you handle it is perfect… talk it out, think it through – if new info comes to light later, it’s okay to modify your opinion or change your mind. Also, when I do find myself writing a post that takes a stand, I do take the time to read up on other perspectives on the issue – makes me better prepared to refute those counterarguments (if I think they’re bunk), or to recognize that there may be valid points and note that they exist. That being said, I love your blog and the way you write, so keep up the awesome work. 🙂

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  18. “It wasn’t too long ago I trusted absolutely everything I read one hundred percent. The written word was everything. For some bizarre reason, if something was published on a piece of paper, I thought it had to be true. Law. Set in stone. Now I find myself questioning everything.”

    One of my degrees was in educational psychology, and my thesis was on (*cough* pleaseforgiveme) epistemic beliefs. Basically, research shows that as we mature, our thinking develops. When we enter university at 18 or 20, we tend to believe in black-or-white thinking, that knowledge is absolute and handing down by the “authorities,” but as we age, we start looking for evidence to back up our beliefs (and those of our professors!). So, Kristine, congratulations– you have formally passed into the stage of “reflective thinking” (King & Kitchener, 1994). And you said you’re not an adult yet! 🙂

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