hit me with your best shot

I got a flu shot on Wednesday.

When filling out the consent and information form prior to getting stuck, I had to think for a moment on whether or not I’d ever had a flu shot before: that’s how long it had been. But I definitely had in college, if not somewhat later. It had been years since the last time, though.

My reasoning: I’m a healthy young man. I rarely get sick. There are so many varieties of the flu that clinics have to guess which form to vaccinate against. And the last time I got a flu shot, the symptoms from the mild virus knocked me on my ass for about 24 hours. None of those made it seem worth it.

My mind was well made up; I was very comfortable in my beliefs. And then my friend Lynn W. raised a point I’d never considered.

Her argument: even if the flu won’t put you out of work, you can still carry the flu virus and infect other people. Getting the flu vaccine reduces your risk for being a carrier. Your concern isn’t being a victim, but being a vector.

And I changed my mind overnight.

This happens to me more often as an adult than it ever did as a child or student. I build in my head a reasonable case for a course of action: a defensible line of arguments, a string of evidence and a good logical warrant that connects the whole package. And then one solid counter-argument comes along and I completely change my mind.

It has nothing to do with the authority or volume of the opposing party. Lynn W’s a friend of mine, but I don’t defer to her judgment on everything; I’m not trying to curry her favor. And I’ve held my ground on things I believe in the past even when nobody agrees with me. Check some of my older posts on voting, for instance.

When I see logic that trumps mine, I embrace it instantly and reject everything else.

I make note of this because I’ve been wondering of late about breaking free of the mind-body dichotomy. I’m curious about the contents of my own head: how did they get there? who put them there and why? As such, my stubbornness makes me curious. Am I holding to this contested belief out of peevishness? Out of a neurotic desire to be an underdog? Out of fatigue or impatience? Or am I rejecting any new ideas because I have yet to see better logic?

So, as odd as it might sound, these abrupt about-faces of belief reassure me more than they worry me. It means the contents of my head yield to reason. The more compelling the logic, the quicker I change my mind. For someone who wants to make sense of the world, that’s a good thing to know.

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