On being open minded

Defining being open minded in my last post opened a can of worms, and I am still trying to pare it all down and get to the root of why I am perceived by some as not being open minded (because it is all about me!).

Nobody is completely open minded about everything. Someone gave me the example that if a pedophile tried explaining why pedophilia is ok she would not be open to said arguments. We all have some issues we are unwilling to consider (often with good reason!). Maybe being open minded when seen this way is not an either/or option, but a scale where no one is at the absolute end of the scale in either direction.

Then there is the question of what happens after one listens and is receptive to new ideas. There need to be some guidelines for what ideas one adopts as one’s own in the course of being open minded (else chaos and contradictory ideas ensue). If one is using some guidelines it stands to reason that being open minded does not necessarily equate agreement in the end. For me those guidelines are evidence. I think my need for evidence is part of the sticking point in people seeing me as closed minded.

This is all further complicated when considering things I have already researched. I used to be pretty open minded about the idea of qi energy, then I spent quite a bit of time researching it so as to be fully informed and ended rejecting the idea. Does being open minded mean I need to start from an unbiased place every time the conversation happens? As a more general question, is being open minded harder when one has trained oneself to think critically? I see it as informed open minded-ness. In the face of new evidence I will reevaluate, but I need the evidence. Even if it means I am perceived as closed minded by some.

While researching this I fully enjoyed and agree with this YouTube video.
Though in a less charitable moment it did made me cackle with glee to hear Stephen Merchant say to Karl Pilkington “We are open minded to good ideas, to sensible thought, to intellectual considerations. We are not being open minded to this utter drivel.”


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