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Are we allowed to change our minds ?

(56 Posts)
Gemini17892 Tue 25-Feb-20 13:36:27

Not sure of the exact quote but was it Maya Angelou who said ‘ When I knew better , I did better. ‘ ?
Some of my beliefs and opinions have changed over the years and I think this is what ought to happen throughout life.
People held opinions that seem outrageous nowadays. Should we be held to account for things we said and did when young and maybe foolish ?

Yehbutnobut Tue 25-Feb-20 14:00:51

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Gemini17892 Tue 25-Feb-20 14:39:28

Yes. We lived and acted more or less within our own restricted worlds. The internet has forced me to challenge my opinions and also told me about things I’d have preferred not to know about. I find the older I get the less I know. Much of what I thought was obvious has evolved through science eg ‘Man has baby. ‘

annep1 Tue 25-Feb-20 14:42:20

As you get older and wiser its inevitable. I would hate to be held accountable for some things I did or said when young thoughtless and immature.

Doodledog Tue 25-Feb-20 14:51:48

Yes, I think we can change our minds - if we didn't it would mean we never matured, and getting older would be all doom and gloom grin.

Part of getting older is learning to see things in a more rounded way, and understanding that there are fewer blacks and whites than we maybe thought when we were young.

I don't understand people who cling to the past, saying things like 'that's just the way I was brought up'. Times change, and we can change with them.

GagaJo Tue 25-Feb-20 15:09:04

I don't know if I have changed THAT much. I think my basic core belief system is very similar to what it was when I was younger.

I didn't ever really want marriage or babies. I loved reading (teach English now). A child of the sixties, I was very idealistic and still am.

I think the attitudes I had as a child have just become more entrenched really. I wasn't racist as a child and now I challenge racism. I also remember worrying about the state of the world and how HARD adult life was, as a child, and I still feel those things.

I LOVE new perspectives on things, as long as they're positive. I actively chase change.

Nonnie Tue 25-Feb-20 15:46:42

Of course we should change our minds when we are mature enough to understand thing differently. To have a closed mind and not acknowledge one is wrong has to be a bad thing. Of course there may be perfect people out there who never need to change their view but I haven't met one yet grin

M0nica Tue 25-Feb-20 15:49:42

It was the economist John Maynard Keynes who said, When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?

paddyanne Tue 25-Feb-20 16:21:37

I was told the only time you cant change your mind is when you're in labour ,that was when the mum in the next room was screaming she was going home because...she'd changed her mind

M0nica Tue 25-Feb-20 16:22:36


Barmeyoldbat Tue 25-Feb-20 17:38:47

I don't think I have changed in my beliefs and I have also taken on new ones as the world changed. I was always what people now call alternative and hippy. I loved travel and people or a different culture and still do. I was brought up within a strong socialist family and my parent believed in equality in all areas. When living in Singapore I can remember my mum would have all the hired help sit down with us and enjoy an evening meal with us kids having to all the running around and clearing the table. We ate a variety of different dishes from different cultures, no agreements of I don't like curry (very hot) you just ate it.

No I am happy with how I am and how I was.

Nonnie Wed 26-Feb-20 11:11:16

I have definitely changed my mind politically. At 19 I knew everything and as I grew older I learned that I didn't. Over the years I have voted for different political parties and also written 'I ABSTAIN' when I couldn't make up my mind.

One of my close friends is someone I couldn't get on with at first, I think it was mutual, so we must both have changed our minds.

There has certainly been a change of emphasis in many areas of my life, some things I feel more strongly about and some matter less than they used to.

GillT57 Wed 26-Feb-20 12:12:34

I think we must change as we grow older, as life develops for us. I acknowledge that I had advantages in my early life such as a loving family, good food, warm home, and a good education, and it took me sometime to realise that not everyone else had the same. As a shallow teenager, I envied my friend whose parents didn't concern themselves with where she was or who she was with, whereas my parents needed to know the details of everything. I now, as a parent, realise that her big fancy house meant nothing when she came home to an empty house to a vesta curry or some other rubbish.

anniezzz09 Wed 26-Feb-20 13:16:58

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GrannyGravy13 Wed 26-Feb-20 13:58:43

The experiences you have along the road of life obviously influence each of us.

I also think my core values have stayed the same, but what goes on around me sways my opinion on how situations and individuals should be treated.

The only example I can give is when the whole Shamima Begim (sp?) case came to my attention I was all for leaving her where she is, but on reflection and many robust GN debates I came to the opinion that she should come back and face the consequences of her actions as opposed to letting another Country where she is not a citizen deal with her.

Gemini17892 Wed 26-Feb-20 22:22:09

I was wondering where you draw the line eg in cases when someone dredges up an old tweet from a student rant .
Should you be held to account if you have changed your views ?
How do we know you have changed ?
And how does this fit with someone accused of inappropriate conduct when they were young ?

NotSpaghetti Wed 26-Feb-20 22:42:03

If someone dredged up an "old tweet " I don't think it can really be all that old...

Lavazza1st Wed 26-Feb-20 22:54:43

I read something that says that every 7 years every cell in your body is replaced and mentally, I know I am not the same person I was 20 years ago. There are things ( and people) I had poor judgement on back then, but there are always going to be some people who cant forgive or let go of the past and keep dredging it up.
Fortunately most people seem to take Maya's approach. I dont see that it helps anyone to be judged for things they did when young and foolish. I played with a gollie as a kid, but I had no idea what it meant, back then. I think a lot depends on whether its the folly of youth or a criminal act. Bringing up someones embarassing mistake is unkind, but a criminal act must be dealt with.

welbeck Wed 26-Feb-20 22:59:48

Gemini, are you alluding to a certain now MP who at the tender age of 30 was caught with his trousers down. in a pub.
ask his constituents what they think.
vox pop heard on various radios today were overwhelmingly negative.

welbeck Wed 26-Feb-20 23:08:34

i am taken aback that twice upthread the n-word was used.
it is highly offensive, a swearword, and caused me to flinch.
it would not be allowed to be broadcast on radio.
i know people were referencing the past and did not mean to be offensive, but it could be alluded to, if strictly necessary, without being written out in full. just as one would not say it.
this is a case in point of how, thankfully, things have changed.

Doodledog Thu 27-Feb-20 00:52:26

I don't know what to think about the MP in the pub. I dare say a lot of people do stupid things 'off duty' in pubs, and it's not fair to hold them against them for 13 years, but I'm not really sure what happened, so in the spirit of the thread I might change my mind as I find out more grin.

I do remember the story of a young girl (I think she was about 16) who got a job as some sort of youth advisor for the police. It was a real job, and had good prospects for the future. The gutter press dug around and found some dodgy social media posts that she had made when she was about 12. I think they were racist (or maybe homophobic), and she claimed she had said them to fit in with her friends at the time.

She was sacked.

I don't know what became of the girl (this happened a while ago), but I think that sacking her was wrong, and that the journalists concerned should have had someone go through their personal lives with a fine tooth comb and make their (inevitable) indiscretions public.

I am the last person to support racist or homophobic behaviour, but I really think that a 12 year old should be forgiven for doing stupid things. Where adults are concerned, I hate the thought that people can't say or do regrettable things in private without having them held over them in perpetuity (let he who is without sin etc), but a lot probably depends on how serious the things are. Obviously, criminal activity is different, and some things are unforgivable and should never be absolved.

OTOH, we have a PM who has said and done some disgraceful things (burning £50 notes in front of homeless people, talking of 'watermelon smiles' and letter box women, and illegal ones such as taking cocaine at University), but has got away with it all. I don't think that (on the face of it) drunkenly baring a bum is as bad, but context is all, I suppose.

Teetime Thu 27-Feb-20 09:24:44

There was a song I think ' If I knew then, what I know now'.... I think of this a lot and still have horrors when I think of some of the things I have done and said. Why is it I only remember the bad things I've done not the good ones?

Oopsminty Thu 27-Feb-20 09:33:00

Hi Doodlebug. I remember the case very well. Quite close to where I was living.

They really should have checked her Twitter history before giving her this job.

She'd made some hugely offensive racist and homophobic remarks, not at the age of 12 but between the ages of 14 and 16.

She really did have to go with views like that

Her Tweets are available to see online for those interested

I'd not be posting them myself

Jishere Thu 27-Feb-20 11:40:37

But where do you draw the line? That is the thing.
Like we know there is child killers, which is the worst hateful crime.

But can we measure everything by being foolish. The young girl with the text at 12, maybe a big lesson learnt but the police have to have rules.

Of course there is no guarantee that she is the same person she was at that young age. How much do we learn and change from our younger self's?

polnan Thu 27-Feb-20 11:51:06

oh gosh, just imagine what the world would be like if people didn`t grow.... not just changing minds, we learn ,, surely,,
good grief,, of course we must change,, our minds,culture, everything

so much , not that long ago, was accepting, acceptable almost.

death penalty, colour bar... just to name the two obvious ones.

Tweedle24 Thu 27-Feb-20 11:53:38

Whilst I agree that there were things seen as acceptable when we were younger that have no place in a civilised society. However, meanings of words themselves change over years. Some which were perfectly fine to use years ago, now would be seen as extremely offensive. We have to be a little careful when condemning our younger selves for having used words which, at the time, were not meant to offend and, indeed, did not offend.

humptydumpty Thu 27-Feb-20 12:26:04

Barmeyoldbat your parents sound great, I love their practice of reversing roles at dinner. Sadly in my time working overseas I never say anything comparable.

MarieEliza Thu 27-Feb-20 12:32:25

Thanks Paddyanne that comment made me laugh out loud. 🤪😅

Rosina Thu 27-Feb-20 13:11:37

I go red in the face thinking about some of the things I said or did in the past. I am glad not to be quite that silly now. Is it not true that if we change our minds or opinions because we now know better, we are wiser today than we were yesterday? That must be a good thing - change should be embraced if it is for the good .

Mamma66 Thu 27-Feb-20 13:53:55

Whilst my parents and grandparents were liberal and were A typical in terms of their outlook towards race. As a child growing up in the 70s my views about sexuality have certainly mellowed. Understanding now the dreadful bias people have experienced I am very glad of that.

Paperbackwriter Thu 27-Feb-20 14:26:07

Paddyanne - that woman in the next room, changing her mind mid-labour: I think it was probably me!

Bridgeit Thu 27-Feb-20 14:44:10

When you say ‘ should we be held to account’ do you mean that we should be punished or held to account for them or do you mean just admitting to the past behaviour.?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 27-Feb-20 15:13:18

I'm sure that many of us expressed opinions when we were young and hadn't experienced much of life and would say things differently now. If we could revisit our younger selves we'd be probably be embarrassed.
You're bound to change. A closed, rigid mind shows a lack of intelligence and empathy, surely? Not to mention tunnel vision.

Bodach Thu 27-Feb-20 15:20:01

Oh, come on, Doodledog. I really cannot let you get away unchallenged with perpetuating that urban myth/socialist smear about the PM "burning £50 notes in front of homeless people". And when you say that "context is all, I suppose", it's a bit remiss of you to omit to mention that the PM's comment about "letterbox women" was in the context of his impassioned defence of women's right to wear the full veil if they chose to do so.

MarieEliza Thu 27-Feb-20 15:43:50

I changed my mind many years ago and cancelled my own wedding the day before. I have never regretted it and my mother was very relieved.
Some guests grumbled and asked for their gifts back. The priest visited to check it it was last minute nerves. I have now been married to a good man for over 40 years, I am glad I changed my mind

GillT57 Thu 27-Feb-20 15:48:24

I suppose we are all guilty of youthful indiscretion, of speech and action which we would not use now. Whether or not we should be held accountable for such depends I think upon where we are now. I am not in the public eye, do not tell people how they should live their lives or make the legislation to punish those who stray, but I think that those who do, need to take a good look at their younger selves before they criticise others. I am thinking here of M Gove; as a young journalist he took recreational drugs, so did many others and I care not a jot. What I do care about is that this same man was responsible for the legislation that meant that any teacher indulging in their spare time, the same as he did, would be struck off for life. Before we get into discussions about the responsibilities of journalists versus teachers, it is the hypocrisy, the 'do what I say, not what I do' that I have a problem with.

LJP1 Thu 27-Feb-20 16:00:03

The difference between 'giving offence' and taking offence' are very different. Some people take offence when none was intended. I suppose that shows lack of perception.

Most people don't mean to 'give offence' but some people always take it, just the same.

Baloothefitz Thu 27-Feb-20 16:48:46 is extremely offensive to repeat the rhyme you chanted at school ,I am hurt & upset by you writing the word out today ,why did you feel it necessary ? You could have put the N word as people do.

Gemini17892 Thu 27-Feb-20 18:45:59

I take your point Welbeck. I should have written “old tweet OR student rant “. I wasn’t thinking of the trouser dropping MP . I was thinking of the awful rants by Andrew Sabisky who resigned recently.
I can see a difference between those 2 things.
If s.o. had too much to drink and dropped his pants that’s one thing but if someone’s rant reflects his true beliefs about women etc that’s more serious. I think anyway.
I suppose some might argue that even those sorts of beliefs could change with age. Some people like to shock only and might not really believe what they are saying. I don’t know. I’m no expert. That’s why I asked the question.
Thanks everyone for your posts.

Gemini17892 Thu 27-Feb-20 18:56:45

By “held to account “ , Bridgeit , I was wondering if he should have lost his job because of saying those things ? I think he should have resigned as some of those comments were pretty disgusting.

Yehbutnobut Thu 27-Feb-20 19:02:22


Bridgeit Thu 27-Feb-20 19:48:32

Why the F,sakings?

Gemini17892 Thu 27-Feb-20 22:00:43

Presumably because the post was deleted.
I went back to check and it had gone. In my opinion it was used as an illustration of what is now unacceptable . It wasn’t meant to be offensive at all.

Baloothefitz Fri 28-Feb-20 00:28:21

WHY are you FFs ing Yeahbutnobut? You chose to write the offensive N word out in full & others including Welbeck have been sensible & kind & explained why it really isn't necessary.

Doodledog Fri 28-Feb-20 09:20:23

Is that a a ‘socialist meme’? I don’t know, as the Bullingdon Club is private, male and members only but Cameron was asked and never denied it.

Any and all criticism of individual Tories is not necessarily an act of socialism, you know. In fact, I was, broadly, speaking in defence of the bloke who dropped his pants, and he is/was a Tory.

As for the letterbox and ‘watermelon smile’ comments, whatever the context they are pretty offensive, don’t you think? He could have made his point without using such derogatory terms.

anniezzz09 Fri 28-Feb-20 12:42:28

Well in terms of change in language, some might find this amusing and some horrifying:

A few of the 'mistakes' are probably more suitable to Irish culture but I thought the link was educational!

POGS Fri 28-Feb-20 15:56:31

Is this thread initiated as a general question or about the Tory Party?

I think there are plenty of MP's from ' ALL ' political parties that could be held up for scrutiny and the balance could be addressed by posting the homophobic, sexist, antisemitic tweets etc. that has hounded many from various parties. It would quickly be condemned to the ' Whataboutery' tag but the balance needs to be understood when apportioning blame to just Tory/Labour etc.

Is this thread is another thread about an individual already being discussed on GN?

' If ' it is a general question then yes of course we are 'allowed ' to change our minds, it is a human trait and using the word ' allowed ' is rather odd .

What an individual says at any one given time may not be where they end up years later and there is no one reason as to why that happens, maturity, personal circumstances, gained knowledge of, reacting to change in society etc. etc.

What is annoying is when there is a determination to twist or purposely refuse to look at ' the context ' of some accusations, feel it appropriate to condemn one individual but not another because they may like one but hate the other. E. G an MP or and individual from one political party may be called to resign for his/her actions but if the same happened within the party someone sides with they ' HAVE BEEN ON A JOURNEY'

Fennel Fri 28-Feb-20 16:28:16

"Are we allowed to change our minds ?"
I hope so, because I regularly change mine.
With the exception of a few things.
Otherwise I try to keep an open mind.

M0nica Fri 28-Feb-20 19:10:14

I also think that overtime our thinking on various subjects evolve.

I can think of a number of subjects where my opinions, formed by the attitudes and knowledge of the period - and I mean 1960s - 80s - hves then changed as more information became available or where a subject I had never really thought about, became of active current concern , so that I did think about it.

For all but a few, our attitudes are not cast in stone. For under 30s I would ignore anything said more than five years ago, unless it was an attitude repeated many times and continued way past a time when they should know better. For people over 30, I would ignore anything said more than 10 years ago..

Bear in mind that St Paul had been a persecutor of Christians before the incident on the road to Damascus, which led to his conversion to Christianity and his later willingness to die for that religion. Nowadays, he would be hounded to the end of his life by those refusing to believe he could really be a christian, because he had once thought otherwise, indeed the leaders of the christian church may well have rejected him because of his previous allegiance.

varian Fri 28-Feb-20 19:18:34

If you were one of 5he decent people who were fooled by the leavers, yes it is good to change your mind.


anniezzz09 Fri 28-Feb-20 19:18:40

I think that these days, St Paul would certainly be on the terrorist list compiled by the police and GCHQ. Likewise Jesus. grin

Gemini17892 Fri 28-Feb-20 22:09:57

Oh my word ! You do have to be so careful with your choice of vocabulary on here. And I’m not referring to the n word mentioned previously. I’m referring to ‘allowed’. Not the best word maybe but ......
And how do you know if it’s a thread about a thread if you don’t read all the other threads on here ?

M0nica Sat 29-Feb-20 09:36:23

Varian Please change the tape. It doesn't bear constant repetition and is history now.

TerryM Sat 29-Feb-20 09:57:30

I would hope people would grow and learn.
My....the things I consider important are not what I considered important in my youth
However maybe the dumb things done in our youth make us what we are today ?
I am truly grateful social media wasn't around in my early teens for the daft things I did

varian Sat 29-Feb-20 10:41:56

The EU referendum of 2016 may be history, but we shoulld not forget that it was ill-concieved, strictly advisory and won by lies, cheating and foreign interference.

It will go down in history as an important turning point where this country took the wrong turn. There is a difference between accepting that it happened and ignoring the true facts.

yggdrasil Sat 29-Feb-20 11:06:42

But you know you can't change your mind. It was the 'will of the people' and Johnson is going to see it through to the bitter end of No Deal angry