In Defense of an Open Mind
An open mind is a crucible in which ideas, opinions and beliefs are processed without bias prejudice or bigotry into effective, forward thinking. In paraphrasing the slogan of the United Negro College Fund “An open mind is a terrible thing to waste”and a valuable thing to embrace.
I recently saw a discussion string on a social media site that got way out of hand. It started as a civil discussion about the flap over NBC”s anchor Brian Wiliams’ false reporting about an experience in Iraq. Before long it morphed into a general discussion about truth telling and then into an argument about weapons of mass destruction. Bush lied, no he didn’t, yes he did, and so on.
Soon personal attacks took over and any hope of a civilized discussion was gone. No one asked a question of another, no one seemed to care why someone else believed what they believed. It appeared that each had blind faith in their position and refused to have it questioned or examined.
It has become apparent that our closed minds on the issues of the day i.e., poverty, racism, illegal immigration, terrorism, the environment, etc., has created a staggering political paralysis and we are part of it. Once we accept the idea that biases are normal and that our natural dislike of ambiguity leads us to adopt beliefs that fit them we are on our way to broadening our world view.
We become better team players, citizens and friends when we embrace the idea that the views and knowledge of others has value and should be recognized. We become more effective pariticpants in problem solving and opportunity recognition when we maintain our openness to the consideration of the ideas of others. We become more responsible voters when we expect the same open mindedness of our leaders and make it known that we will accept nothing less.