Friday, March 25, 2005

Fear Of Open-Mindedness (A bit of a rant)

Some people lean more toward being open-minded, and others lean toward being close-minded. Then there are those people who seem to do more than just lean toward one or the other, they actually cling to their choice of close-mindedness.

The problem arises when you introduce any idea that runs counter to their beliefs. I have seen the effects firsthand, and they can be quite explosive. Yelling, name calling, huffing, puffing, blowing the house down, are all par for the course. Intelligent dialogue is not. I truly think that this type of close-mindedness derives from an insecurity in their own beliefs.

One time I was asked for my opinion on a politically charged issue, and I shared it tactfully (I thought so anyway). Wow! That really set them off. I do not think they really wanted my opinion, but an argument. They got my opinion, but not an argument. I stuck to my point, but did not let my viewpoint devolve into some babbling rhetoric.

I have strongly held beliefs, but do not fear new ideas. I either accept them, deny them, or assimilate them where possible. I strive for objectivity, but can admit when it is time to rethink an idea, if new, and credible information has surfaced.

How do you rank yourself on being open or close minded? Where do you think otehrs rank you? Why?


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Funky Dung said...

"An open mind is like an open trap. It is only useful if it clamps onto something."

I don't know who coined that phrase, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Another good one is:

"If you keep your mind open too long, your brains will leak out."

Openmindedness is important, but it's pointless if you have no intention of forming any solid beliefs.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger A1 Success Force said...

I agree with you for the most part. While chosing to focus on the close-minded I overlooked the other side of the coin.

I could also add that an excessively open-minded person comes across as overly agreeable, and underly assertive.

Perhaps there could be a follw-up entitled Fear Of Closed-Mindedness.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Malcolm said...

The phrase "open-minded" seems to apply to beliefs, but not to knowledge. If we have knowledge of something, there's no question of open-mindedness. I personally don't see the absolute necessity of forming solid beliefs, at least not so solid that one cannot admit the possibility of changing them. One can form a belief and act on it, to that extent it can be solid; but if a belief is so solid that it cannot be changed in the face of contrary evidence, then it becomes bigotry, of which there is more than enough in the world.
The owner of this blog is right when he thinks that extreme close-mindedness results from insecurity; this is very evident in the field of religion, especially when the religion in question asks its members to accept the promotion of conflicting or nonsensical ideas. The insecurity is never admitted to, because the whole purpose of most religions is to provide security, not to promote truth.

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Ed said...

It used to be that at the end of discussing two different viewpoints "we can agree to disagree" and leave as friends.

Now there seems to be a mean spiritness of I'm right and your opinion or point of view doesn't mean anything.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous scott said...

I think you and I have a lot in common. I'm right there with you.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger P said...

I think that I have an open mind, I think that people that are around me have a much more closed minded outlook on life. I think that there are many "rights" in the world, and many "wrongs", and wrongs are often shaped by one's religion, racial background, what one was taught, and what just "feels" right and or wrong. I do have strongly held morality beliefs, but I never try to force those on others. I think that's very uncool.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger IcarusInFlight said...


Ideas are like rivers
They flow here, they flow there
Bending and twisting
Some shallow, some deep
Raging torrent, gentle stream
Perpetual Course
Flash flood.
Others grow
Sometimes drought
Ideas are fluid
No doubt

IcarusinFlight :-)


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