We hear about open-mindedness a lot in our culture. It is often viewed as a good thing, a virtue even. Those who adhere to traditional values on the other hand are viewed as the antonym of open-minded, and the enemy of diversity. While that certainly can be true, open-mindedness, like everything else must be tempered.
Being open to ideas, experiences, and other people’s beliefs is a generally a good thing. In a society that is so divided, a little more of that would do wonders to bring about healing. Not all ideas are equal. Some view all religions, political beliefs, and philosophies to be the same. If only people would understand that, then there would be peace, right? Not exactly. Many belief systems are destructive, and because we are human, even the good and true ones often get warped.
A balance should be struck between the hardened skeptic and the hippy that believes anything goes. Listening to people is always important, but that doesn’t mean their ideas are valid, in fact they might be very toxic to society. How much toxicity have we allowed into our culture for the sake of being “open-minded?” That is a question the reader will have to answer for him or herself. I certainly do not have the answer, but with all the dystopian media I have consumed along with the insane ideas now peddled as truth, I cannot help but wonder if fiction is closer to reality than I had thought.
In our era of skepticism, cold, unadulterated rationality is often valued. Science has lifted the curtain on certain superstitions and wives’ tales. Most people in the modern western world strive to be rational, and scientific. We don’t want to be like our ancestors that believed diseases were cause by curses. Most of the time we try to bring that rationality into our everyday lives, particularly our relationships. But just how rational are we as a species? Everyone knows that humans are biased, yet there is more to it than that. I believe people are emotional first and rational second.
Whether we realized it or not, we are emotionally invested into the world around us. I theorize that our emotional connections to things run far deeper than any of us realize. Emotions are what drive us, what connects us to our beliefs, I wager far more than any evidence or rationality. Emotions are not bad things and how they intertwine with our beliefs can be beneficial, for example it can drive us to learn why we believe what we believe. Rationality too can intermingle with emotion and help us see whether we believe something simply because we want to or if there is evidence to support it.
Emotion, dare I say, contributes to our openness and willingness to accept rational thinking and beliefs. If we have a strong emotional attachment to the truth, we I’ll search for it ourselves, despite what common consensus may say. Therefore, being emotional beings isn’t always a bad thing, but I feel it is something we must be aware of.