The Dangers of an Open Mind… you heard me.Posted: April 18, 2010
Right now, in the western world, anything goes. Believe whatever you want, think whatever you want, define your own truths. You are truth, and that is all that’s true. No certainty, no rules. But since we are renouncing all certainty… is even that true? The renouncing of one thing is the accepting of another. Even if what you’re accepting is to abstain from accepting any one thing. So still we say: you think what you think, I’ll think what I think, because there is no right or wrong anymore. It sounds great, and its gotta be better then warring about things like religion. But does it really help us? We’ve started to be too accepting, too inclusive, and too “free”. Don’t get your back up, hear me out.
I am a post-modern child, I don’t deny it. I love it. I agree that (for the most part) truth is constantly evolving. I think there are few, if any, things we can know for sure. There is evidence for and against every argument, and physical reality is no longer a doctrine. There is a great liberation in the realization that there are simply things we cannot know. The problem with this is that in its infiniteness, it is limiting. By recognizing the fragmentation and uncertainty of this world and this life, we have relinquished the activity of true conversation. By entering into an interaction of any sort, with the idea that whatever the other person is going to say, is their belief and it doesn’t concern you, sets you up for a conversation that doesn’t involve a real yearning for understanding. Allowing for missing pieces in one’s personal manifesto is a necessity, because there are many things that are unknown. But it is not an excuse admitting us from asking questions, challenging, or being challenged. Believing that you may never know absolute truth is not an excuse for not searching for it. By elevating ourselves as individuals, we lose the ability for community. We must acknowledge the difference between tolerance and understanding, and aim first at understanding. “Just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” (proverbs)
How many times have you been in a group and heard someone say “I don’t talk about religion or politics”, or see someone back away from a conversation that might get the least bit controversial? I see it all the time and it makes me itchy. No one wants to over step, no one wants to offend. I’m not saying we should speak with the intention of offending, but should we really be hiding what we think out of fear that someone is going to disagree and we may actually have to try and explain ourselves?
We have lost the desire to communicate. In this whole “you believe what you believe, I’ll believe what I believe” society we’ve created, we’ve wiped out real dialogue. No longer do we feel the need to explain, express, or expose our beliefs, ideas, or truths. We are the most adamantly inarticulate generation, and we need to start speaking with intention.
I support the freedom that comes hand-in-hand with post-modernism, but I don’t support the segregation. We are no loner segregating by means of religion, culture, or other collectives, but we are segregating individually. We are all allowed to be as open-minded as our minds will stretch… so long as we do it in our own back yards.
We need to start opening our minds up even further. Not just accepting that we are all free-thinkers and “to each their own”. That’s all well and good, and a great progression from traditional ways of thinking, but let’s not stop here. We need to start talking, start testing, and start learning from each other. And real, true, open listening, not debating: conversing and understanding. We have to regain conviction, we have to start advocating for what we believe to be true, but all the while being open to the possibility that our truths can change. If we don’t start really speaking to each other, we are going to drown in our own thoughts and become stagnant. Growth is a result of struggle. It’s not enough to be questioning authority; we have to start speaking with it too.