I have tasted of the fruit,
and it's opened up my eyes;
it's given me a thirst,
that's so hard to satisfy;
drink from juicy lips,
delicious in a kiss,
— Infected Mushroom, Illuminaughty
Fear of change is a common human affliction. Some fear change in the world around them, because they do not know whether they will be able to survive in a world that is different to the one they now live in. Some fear change in all things, because they fear that the change may be for the worse, rather than the better. Others fear intellectual change; that is, a change in their thinking, in their mind. This fear stems from a fear of losing one's identity; and of course, the accompanying fear that should such a change occur, they would no longer be able to understand why the change is good or bad, or perhaps even realise that any change has occurred.
Such fear is certainly not baseless; it can be truly terrifying to observe the downward spiral of someone afflicted with a psychological or neurological disease that slowly tears apart what was once a person, while the individual thus afflicted is almost oblivious to the process. Then there are forms of "brainwashing", or forced intellectual change; people hear of things like the so-called "Stockholm syndrome" (which, incidentally, is not a real medical term), and brainwashing through the use of psychotropic drugs and mental torture. Thus, it is perhaps not such a great leap from fearing these extreme scenarios, to fearing any kind of intellectual change at all.
However, down this path lies many dangers. First and foremost are the consequences of being unable to correct incorrect views that one holds; you need no longer worry about changing from correct beliefs to incorrect beliefs, but at the same time, any incorrect beliefs you hold will continue to mislead you, as you resist any attempts to change them. Then, too, there are the consequences of isolating yourself from others; even if you are, in fact, right, and they are wrong, you cannot hope to interact with them on anything more than a superficial level if you cannot at least understand their perspective, however incorrect it may be.
Thus, while I respect in some way those who seek to avoid intellectual change, I choose to embrace it fully. This does not mean that I buy into any hair-brained theory or belief that gets thrown my way. Any new ideas and concepts are carefully examined, tested, torn apart and put back together; but at the end of this process, if the new idea meets muster, then I will embrace it. Far from seeing this as "losing" myself, I feel that the new me is simply something greater than the old me; I don't discard the old beliefs or perspective as the new ones are embraced, I simply cut them out of the decision-making loop. Thus, I retain all of the previous awareness I had, but now it is augmented by new and different things.
I should, perhaps, stress the latter point; while some people seek to forget about painful memories or times of their life, to "put it behind them", I don't wish to do that. I don't wish to dwell on the past, but neither do I wish to discard the past, and lose the value of experiences. All of the pain, misery, suffering, and darkness is as much a part of me as the joy, love, peace, happiness, and light; to discard that is to discard part of who I am, and to become something less than I was before.
I urge those of you who fear change to, instead, embrace it, and release yourselves from that fear.