Open-mindedness. It’s not binary.
Some ideas are so stupid, your mind should absolutely be closed to them. Binary 0.
Some ideas make so much sense we instantly grasp onto them. Binary 1.
When we’re too closed on ideas, we appear stubborn. Close-mindedness can make us seem, among other things, bigoted, misogynistic, racist, uneducated, ignorant.
When we’re too open-minded, we appear naive. We appear gullible. We can appear stupid. The telemarketers and door-to-door salespeople hope our minds will be wide open to anything. Much like our elected officials.
Open-mindedness is a dial. A dial connected to a variable resistor. When you turn the dial, the resistance changes. It doesn’t change in discrete levels. It changes along an analogue spectrum, with an infinite number of stops in between.
When I first heard about a theory that the earth is flat, my mindedness was set just barely open. For all intents and purposes, it was closed, as I was already reasonably sure the earth was spherical, but since I rarely dismiss anything out of hand, I decided to look into it.
I set my dial to slightly more open.
Now, with the dial in this position, I could do some research. If I found an article that made a good point, I twisted the dial to the right and if I found an article that was nonsense, I twisted the dial to the left.
At the end of the day, there is a preponderance of evidence that the earth is round(ish). I’m comfortable enough with what I know about the physical world around me, that I can set the “flat earth” mindedness dial to fully closed (sorry Mark).
If evidence comes along that casts doubt on the multitude of experiments throughout history that have demonstrated that the nature of the earth is round, then I will set mindedness back to open.
This is what I do. I go back and forth until I am satisfied with where I stand. In some cases I never get the answers I need and the dial stays in the middle.
If someone tells me to give that drug Krocodil a try I can let them know my mind is pretty damn closed off to addictive junk that makes my arms fall off.
Jussie Smollett, I’m still waiting to hear all of the evidence in your case, but you sure look guilty. Dial set to slightly open.
Sorry, O.J., the dial has been set to closed. You pretty much admitted your guilt in the Judith Regan interview. Oh, and there was the D.N.A.
This is my dial and I’ll set it where I want. Based on experience. The good news is, experience is continual. I could experience a conversation with you that changes my mind. You could point me in the direction of the evidence I haven’t seen. And if you do, I will gladly open my filter. I will turn that dial.
But I don’t change my dial with a gun to my head. You can’t call me prejudiced and expect a counterclockwise twist. You can’t play the race card, sex card, gay card, trans card, God card, or NASCARd and expect me to twist the dial just because.
It has to be based on logic and it has to be based on evidence. Otherwise, I’m as closed as the L.C.B.O. on Victoria Day.