Upon Being Open Minded

WARNING: This is a shallow, closed-minded post from a shallow, closed-minded individual.

Among my generation, the greatest attribute one can have is being open minded. This means accepting a variety of opinions without getting angry or stating that those opinions are wrong, despite the fact that they may contradict one’s own personal beliefs.

I’m a huge fan of this quote: “Be open minded, but not so open minded that your brain falls out.” If one is too open minded, she gets confused. Everything becomes true. By that same logic, nothing is true. Truths that a person learned as a child become contradicted by the time she goes to college and learns to become “open minded” like her peers. Without childhood truths to fall back on, because those are often derided as “close minded,” she may not know what to believe.

I do admit that one’s learned childhood truths are not always correct, and one may come to believe something different as one comes out of childhood. That’s fine and natural. Otherwise, we’d all still believe in the Tooth Fairy. What bothers me is when one does not stand up for what one believes for fear of being “closed minded” or “wrong.” So she attempts to believe whatever she hears.

For example, a fundamental truth of Catholicism is that abortion is wrong. Our hypothetical person considers herself to be Catholic. By accepting and believing and professing the tenets of one religion, one naturally must reject many others. They cannot all be true at once. Also, one cannot be Catholic without accepting all the teachings of the Church. It is not easy to accept that abortion is wrong, especially when one has been put in a position where many would consider abortion a good, sensible option. (I admit, it is very easy to understand why someone would choose abortion, especially considering how awful pregnancy, outside pressures, and stressful financial situations can be. However, that never makes it the right choice.)

Our hypothetical person is talking to a friend and discussing abortion. The friend is pro-choice, so in order to prove herself open minded, the hypothetical person’s new wishy-washy opinion is manifested, and she says something to the effect of “I can understand why you believe that. I personally would never have an abortion myself, but I am fine with it if someone else made that choice.”

Similarly, the friend might also say, “You’re Catholic, and I believe that all organized religion is a bunch of horseshit, but if you want to believe it, that’s cool.”

I don’t know if any legitimate arguments can be had when nobody stands up for their beliefs or has any beliefs to stand up for, which brings me to another quote that I believe describes my generation: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Be consistent, people. Being “closed minded” is honestly not that bad. Being strong in your beliefs and being a person of integrity is a virtue, not blindly accepting everyone else’s opinion on everything else because you want to get along or because you do not understand your own faith. If you believe you know the truth of something, say so.

2 thoughts on “Upon Being Open Minded

  1. I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it (how old-fashioned of me, I know, to consider before I post — I’m not going to win the internet this way 🙂 ).

    What I’ve been stuck on is that 1) you’re right — the phenomenon you’re describing definitely exists, but 2) there’s also the very pervasive (and more or less equally negative, in my thinking) “cancel culture,” where everybody gets judged by the very “worst” thing they ever said or did (or are suspected of saying or doing), rather than from looking at their entire lives and how they’ve lived (and the fact that we all make mistakes and have regrets).

    (Now, if you want to judge Roman Polanski on the basis of one thing he did — drugging and raping a child — that might have some merit. I’m talking about the vast majority of cases, which aren’t anywhere near that level, and in some cases aren’t even based in provable facts.)

    What I’ve come around to is that the difference is that the “go along to get along” phenomenon you’re describing often happens face-to-face (or whatever the equivalent is in these pandemic months), but canceling people mostly happens through social media as a mass action. It’s individual-to-individual, compared to mob vs individual.

    After all, if “everybody else” is canceling someone, you don’t want to be the one standing aside, let alone defending the vile miscreant — so maybe that’s “go along to get along,” too.

    Like

    1. Yep. They dig up something ancient someone did in high school or college and hold it over the person’s head, preventing them from getting a job or keeping the job they do have.
      I suppose the reverse is true, too. Someone may get judged as a great person because of the 10 minutes at the end of their life that they spent repenting of all the terrible things they’ve done and the awful way they lived.
      That’s an idea for a whole ‘nother blog post!

      Like

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