On many occasions my wife had tried to compel me to join suite on ideas she garnered from a variety of sources such as romantic movies.
Recently she had said: ‘that actor threw his wife up in the air, how about you throwing me up in the air?’
That got me scratching my head again: Why do some people subsume everything they hear or see while others do the opposite like pruning the information to a logical conclusion?
Adults who have the first mindset of adopting everything they hear are not obeying Piaget’s theory of cognition which expects transition from a concrete rigid thought to a thawed analytical thinking and abstraction, beginning from early adolescence. Grownups with the later mindset of sifting general opinions down to a sensible level are in a different plane from their first counterparts.
Rigidity of mind happens when one’s mind is stuck in a particular mindset and plane. This is not about being stuck in a particular mindset as a result of mental illness or organic brain injury. Rigidity of mind could be passing, prolonged or permanent.
There are empirical reasons to hypothesize that people could well be born and wired into different planes of minds in the same fashion that some of us are born right-handed while others are born left-handed. Age, gender, exposure and experience factors do not seem to adequately explain this rigid mindset phenomenon. The liberals are born stuck in the liberal plane while the conservatives are born stuck in the conservative plane.
The brain’s ability to analyze sensation: smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing—- and arrive at the best available response is material and based upon local brain tissue, physiological changes and gross neural impulse trajectory in the brain with integrations and relay across an array of adjoining central nervous system players.
It is hard to say whether non pathological rigidity of mind is a distinctive biological phenomenon worthy of further delineation, because even when there may have been a prior emotional catalyst to it, the result is probably similar; chemical changes in the brain tissue involved and a substantive rerouting of the brain thought process to the subject’s existing plane of mind.
What is indisputable though is that consensus is never reached when there is no meeting of the minds regarding opinions and ideas between officials and among the public. Stalemate on issues such as gun violence, abortion rights, immigration reform and fiscal debt crises characterizes some of the tragedies of the rigid mind malady.
By Anselm Anyoha MD
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