Open-Minded

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.

Do not get offended, get thoughtful.

I am a millennial.  We are known for two things, 90s nostalgia and getting offended, especially the later.  While Millennials on college campuses are the poster men and women for offense.  It seems to me that being predisposed to offense goes beyond my generation.  I think that social media is the root of a lot of offense.  How about instead of getting offended we get thoughtful.

We are steeped in technology and information.  How companies get their information to you through all the other sources is to pander to what you want to hear and believe.  As a result, we lose our ability to empathize with someone else.  That, requires effort.  We must seek out what the “other side” believes.  It’s okay to disagree, but what happened with civil discourse and free exchange of ideas without someone feeling it is a personal attack?

In the era of knee-jerk reactions and visceral reactions on the internet, I challenge whoever is reading this and myself to respond thoughtfully.  It goes against every instinct within us.  When we are hurt we want to get even, make them suffer and feel pain.  There is enough of that on the internet.  Why don’t we instead learn why we believe what we believe and support it with facts and research?  When replying to posts we disagree with, why don’t we keep calm and explain our position rationally.  This is something we should all think about.