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How to Tell If You are Open Minded

Updated on March 20, 2017
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Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Jack has worked at IBM for over 28 years on museums and libraries.

Introduction

In my many years of dealing with people and their beliefs, I discovered some talltale signs of who is openminded and who is an ideolog. These are very subtle signs but never the less exists.

- Mar. 2017

Background

Psychologist tells us that we humans are ruled by both logic and emotions. That is what make us unique in the animal kingdom. It is also what gives us an advantage over some who may be more powerful physically. We have the mental capacity to think, to evaluation, to create and to reason and to make decisions.

How do we arrived at some beliefs?

  • we are taught by our parents and teachers
  • we learn from our own experience
  • we observe around us
  • we read what other thinkers and philosophers wrote
  • we are inspired by others
  • we learn from various media outlets
  • we receive an inner calling
  • we learn from our peers by arguments

The definition of being openminded is the ability to change our beliefs due to new information. Over all our human history, our collective knowledge came about mostly by trial and error. Things that work or prove to be of value are retained and passed on. Things that don't work are discarded. We establish a society, a communal system where knowledge is shared and taught and propagated all for the common good.

The scientific method came about when we learned a systematic way to determine if something is true or false. Something that can be repeated in an experiment and verified independently will be accepted as truth until new information come to light.

There are Two Realms

In the world we know, there exists two realms, a physical and a spiritual. The physical are things we can measure, we can see, touch, smell, hear, taste... Not only with our five senses but with instrumentation. Anything we can measure belongs to the physical realm. The spiritual realm are things that are by definition out of the physical realm. For most people, it is a matter of faith.

I will venture to guess most people are open minded in the physical world. We will change our views based on new information gathered by people in the special fields of expertise. In the spiritual realm, that is a different story. Because it is a matter of faith, there is very little room to change.

I am a Catholic and as such I hold certain beliefs. I came about this not lightly. I went through a year of study and discernmemt in the RCIA process. Prior to that, I did a lot of study and read many books and articles by various people. I had discussions with various friends and colleagues. I studied comparitive religion and settled on Catholicism as the best fit for me personally. My faith is strong and I belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Christ. i believe in the Creation story as told in the Bible.

I can profess that if tomorrow, a UFO landed at the UN Plaza, and aliens came out and declared they are our creator and that we are the products of genetic engineering and not of Godly creation, I would reject them. This is based on my faith in God and the Bible. In fact, the Bible forewarned the day when false prophets will appear among us...You can say, I am not open minded in my faith.

However, in other aspects of our lives, I think I am open minded. Over the 60 plus years, I have changed my opinion on various topics and in some cases multiple times. This is due to my experience and the revelation of new facts and data.

What Are Some Signs?

In my dealings with people, here are some personal observations.

One sign is willing to engage tough and controversial subjects. An open minded person is willing to discuss a topic even though it may be uncomfortable for some. Conversely, a close minded person will avoid a topic or keep silent or unwilling to hear other views...

Another sign is if a person is curious about life and the world. Like a child in a candy store, a person with open mind will want to learn new things and try new things. On the contrary, a closed mind person is set in their way. They are most comfortable doing the same routine and not curious about other ways.

Finally, a sign of open mindedness is the ability to connect the dots. When given a set of circumstances, a person can make a connection of causes and effects. On the contrary, a close minded person tends to see each event as individual free standing items. They cannot see how one thing can be related to another or cause another event.

Some Excuses...

Here are some excuses I hear for not re-thinking an issue.

  • It is above my pay grade. Some will defer a decision because they claim they are just not knowledgeable enough.
  • Everybody does it. Justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior.
  • I am just one person and can't make a difference.
  • Can't deal with the consequences, don't rock the boat.
  • Will shake their world view and turn it upside down.

Summary

In this hub, I try to explain how some people are open minded and some are less so. The signs are there if you pay attention. The first step of changing minds is to find out if a person is open to changes.

Next, it will take some honesty and humility. Most of us have an ego. We don't like to be wrong. We take pride in our intellect. We form opinions based on knowledge and experience. We don't like it when the conclusions are wrong or proven wrong. It takes a big man to accept the fact that he may be wrong or be misled by false information.

© 2017 Jack Lee

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    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 3 months ago from Australia

      Hi Jack. I have found the times my physical world grows smaller I can get in a rut and become more set in my views. Then when my physical life expands I tend to be more open minded and tolerant. Thats just a very very general observation for me. I am working on having an approach that can keep on staying open and flexible. It's harder doing the latter because you have to tolerate uncertainty. Good article:)

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Threekeys, thanks for checking my article.

    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 3 months ago from Australia

      I was enjoying reading your article-not checking it. Cheers Jack!

    • jackclee lm profile image
      Author

      Jack Lee 3 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Haha, it's just a figure of speech. Glad you enjoy it.

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