Can there really be a genuine meeting of minds?

"The Meeting of Minds" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“The Meeting of Minds” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

own this cartoon
The first guy on the left you don’t dare question or he’s going to blow up.

The middle guy needs a key to unlock but he’s hidden it.

The guy on the right needs the perfect combination you’ll probably never guess.

Which one are you trying to converse with right now and it just doesn’t seem to be working?

I’ve come to the conclusion that argument and debate rarely changes anyone’s mind. My observations, of my own life and the lives of others, is that it usually takes some kind of trauma to change one’s mind. My question is… is this necessarily the only way? Or can we be changed by a new thought?


You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. Douglas says:

    This feels like NB politics.

  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    This would be a fun cartoon to get suggestions from your readers of other characters that could be sitting around the non-dialogue table. For example, how about:

    (1) a guy or gal with a black hole for a head –> Everything is about them. they suck every point of
    the conversation to something about them.

    (2) a guy with a pacifier for a head –> They need to be comforted and coddled or they are offended.

    (3) a guy or gal with a mouse trap for a head –> inviting dialog, enticing, seems sweet, but beware …

    But as for your ponderings:
    I agree with you that trauma can really change people. But that is because trauma is change. Any big change, good or bad, can change people. Because people’s ideas/beliefs/theologies are created post-hoc, they are created to support a person’s desires/temperament/needs. So people won’t change their ideas until they have a felt need (good or bad). But, I disagree with you about debates not being effective. Though debates rarely change a person’s mind on the spot, when a person has a felt need, their mind may look back at past dialogues or books or debates and pull up the new ideas/beliefs to help them create a new world view for their new world — good or bad.

    What do you think, David?

    I’m saying debate helps — it may not help now, or for a few years, but no reason to despair just because you aren’t getting credit for it! 🙂

  3. Hamsahandgirl says:

    Another thing that doesn’t change minds is berating and humiliating people. I will never understand how people can do that in the hope of bringing someone to their side. Maybe that is not the goal anymore 🙁

  4. I could agree with that Sabio. I mean… sharing ideas is good. Whether it actually changes minds is another question. But once the seed is planted, maybe when it germinates and grows, then perhaps the sharing of ideas changed a mind in the long run.

  5. Pat Pope says:

    If we allow room for the fact that we may not be entirely right or that there are other perspectives, there can be a chance for genuine dialogue. And keep in mind, that any one of us can be any of the people depicted above. It’s not just something relegated to “them”.

  6. Sabio Lantz says:

    Agreeing with Pat Pope: We most certainly are all those people above or most of them — at some time, for some sorts of subjects, in some sorts of settings.

  7. purvez says:

    I too believe in ‘planting seedling ideas’ and then walking away. In fact the less you insist they be adopted the more people want to adopt them.

    Human nature (mind) is truly complex.

  8. purvez says:

    I too believe in ‘planting seedling ideas’ and then walking away without insisting that they be adopted. The less you insist the more people want to adopt.

    Human nature (mind) is truly complex.

  9. purvez says:

    Sorry the first one didn’t seem to have gone through, hence the second one.

  10. Caryn LeMur says:

    I think that minds are constantly evolving… with a burst of changes during “trauma”.

    However, the birth of our first child years ago was not a negative trauma… but it was ‘trauma enough’ and did change my outlook on the work-world very quickly. No more job-jumping when I felt like it… lol. 😉

    Dialog has greatly helped me to see so many good and valid view-points.

    I have evolved over the years from a black-and-white perspective to appreciate many other life journeys that operate in far more gray.

    But there is something other than dialog. I have not quite found a way to express it, yet.

    It is something like ‘dialog, laughter, debate, and a beer with friends’ – – that changes me the most. You see, once others have shown respect (and even joy) over me sharing my momentary opinion, then I felt free to entertain their opinions… and to modify my own.

    So, it is dialog plus X. I simply don’t know a good word for the X, yet.

  11. Brigitte says:

    Metanoia. Repentance. Grief. Change of Mind.


    No pain, no gain.

  12. Godfrey says:

    Honesty, generosity, love, forgiveness, change hearts and often monds along with them.

  13. SuzieQ says:

    This is an interesting debate. I know someone who is going through major trauma just now but still holding onto his black and white, them and us religious mentality berating all who disagree. I don’t enter into dialogue with him anymore – his response is always anger. I pray, I love, I listen and I care about him as a child of God – or at least I ask God to help me do so. God is never in a hurry to change people like we are.