Saturday, December 11, 2010


College is a place where you seriously begin to make up your mind on many matters.

A mind, after all, does not just happen.  It is not innate.  It does not come into being full-blown.  Rather, it grows and builds and is the product of may sources and influences.  Minds are not born but made.

The extent to which they are self-made and custom-tailored, rather than off-the-rack and mass-produced depends on your independence, depends on your willingness and ability to learn and think for yourself, to develop and redevelop your own views and, ultimately, your own worldview, your own philosophy, your own wisdom, which is a life-long process of testing and assessing your information, your attitudes, and your conclusions.

Changing your mind is just as important as making it up, hard though that may be once your habits of mind harden over time with customary repetition.  Minds need to remain limber and flexible, open to new circumstances and influences.  As does science (the art of knowing), minds evolve; new modes and subjects of thought emerge and challenge former premises and models, pressing minds to adapt.

What is your best means of mind-making and remaking?  Writing.  Granted that reading, listening, conversing and debating are necessary modes of informing your mind; nonetheless, writing lets you use language, the medium of articulated thought, to best advantage for both rumination and precise expression, as well as for portraying your mind for others to see. 

For once you clearly make up your mind on one matter or another, the next step is to make your mind matter to others—through writing.