This week the White House came out in support of banning “conversion therapy” a form of pseudoscience, based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation. Such treatments have been criticized. Medical and scientific organizations in the U.S. and Britain have expressed concern over “conversion therapy” and consider it potentially harmful.
Mindsets, as psychologists have studied is about the nature of human attributes, such as intelligence or personality. Some people hold a fixed mindset or an entity theory, were others hold an incremental theory. Debates about human nature often revolve around what is built in. However, the hallmark of human nature is how much of a person’s identity is not built in; rather, it is humans’ great capacity to adapt, change, and grow.
This nature versus nurture debate matters-not only to students of human nature-but to everyone. It matters whether people believe that their core qualities are fixed by nature (an entity theory, or fixed mindset) or whether they believe that their qualities can be developed (an incremental theory, or growth mindset).
In a time when new theories irreversibly replace older ones, past theoris can regain relevance if and as they inform current discussion and illuminate truths, but as provisional conclusions as well as to alternative ways of thinking. In one of the most important books in the history of philosophy – A Treatise of Human Nature, by Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published at the end of 1738: All sciences, Hume argued ultimately depend on “the science of man”: knowledge of “the extent and force of human understanding,… the nature of the ideas we employ, and… the operations we perform in our reasonings” is needed to make real intellectual and social progress.
Hume’s compatibilist theory of free will proved extremely influential on subsequent moral philosophy.
- The hallmark of human nature is each person´s great capacity to adapt, to change, and to grow. “In fact, perhaps what is built in is this capacity to learn and change according to the world you find yourself in”.
Amanda Simpson — Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, and the first openly transgender woman Presidential appointee ever — sent the following message to the White House email list.
– This isn’t just a transgender issue or an LGBT issue — it’s an American issue. A nation founded on the ideals of equality and acceptance for everyone, and forcing an individual to be someone they aren’t goes directly against what this country stands for.. If we’re going to grow as a society, we must move beyond the way things are, to the way things should be.,,
A lot of this comes down to Carol Dweck’s ideas about whether you have a fixed or a growth mind-set. We’re seeing that it’s difficult for people to grow and change, but they definitely can do so under the right circumstances and the right conditions. People can actually come to see more deeply into themselves and their world. Having a growth and learning mind-set is crucial. Not only at the individual level, but organizational level. By building corporate cultures that promote challenge and debate, how we all can create learning organizations that accelerate the speed at which leaders and others grow.
Finally, a growth mindset not only increases intellectual achievement but can also advance conflict resolution between long-standing adversaries, decrease even chronic aggression, foster cross-race relations, and enhance willpower.