The Value of Open-Mindedness
Do you have an open mind? A question like this should not be amiss in any introductory conversation yet more often than not, forgotten until it’s too late to be used for good will. Alas! Not many of us even try to answer the aforementioned question, lest they give in to the urge of resorting to lies for the sake of polite company. But I want to dare. I dare ask this question right now. I dare question the intentions of people who interact with each other. I dare everyone to acknowledge the value of open-mindedness, so that we will be able to ascertain whether we humans are ready in both mind and body to accept the diversity in the world we live in. I dare us all to be honest to ourselves and the whole world around us, to avoid being hypocrites of our own making in the process of belittling others based on our own standards of what the world should have.
Opening Up to Ideas
Sincere Conversations Matter!
What, then, is an open mind? How do we strive to obtain such a mind? Before we can have enough understanding of what an “open mind” is, we need to examine ourselves and scrutinize what it is that prevents us from having that trait. Despite the consciousness of the human mind from our waking hours through much of our sleep, it is a tragic fact that we do not really think. We fail to be aware and sensitive of the things around us, unless they concern obvious elements of our lives. We are so shallow to the point of insensitivity towards the feelings of other people, not bothering to be compassionate enough to see beyond the cover. It is even sadder that we no longer care much about nature, not even to take care of it so that the generations after us will be able to enjoy the rich beauty of its resources. Uncannily enough, humans have become detached to the balance of the world they live in, choosing to be selfish, rather than selfless.
 (Moga 2005)
Selfless, not Selfish
Open-mindedness then means that you should be able to see beyond what you want and need, towards what other people and the world needs you to be. C.S. Lewis aptly tells of this trait through these words: “It is in the light of overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.” He means that we should be open to possibilities, which will in turn allow us to interact with others respectfully, properly and fairly. This proper interaction is further specified by Lewis as “treating one’s neighbor as the holiest object presented to your senses, next to the Blessed Sacrament.” He bases this proper behavior in the Christian principle that “in [all humans and creation] also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden”.
 (Lewis 1941)
Value of Sincere Interactions
I find Philosophy as something that will enable me to obtain an open mind. Since Philosophy is a field of study that centers on open-ended questions, I find myself becoming more a lover of wisdom – a wisdom that is found in a heightened awareness for all that is there in human life. Philosophy dares me to question my beliefs, especially on what I think about the reality of the world I live in. I will always admire and remember how one of our Philosophy teachers, Mr. Emir Epino, would constantly ask us on how and why we believe things and he would always try to squeeze our minds into thinking beyond our usual thinking calculus, to discern whether we are ready to accept ideas or not, and most importantly, to prepare our minds to be open to even ideas that are different from our perspectives. In fact, in our last lesson, he asked us ponder on the possibility of electric fans being able to fly when all the lights are closed and no one is there in the room. Our class thoroughly debated on this subject matter, until we reached the point of “giving the idea the benefit of the doubt” because we cannot be truly certain of this possibility since the premise of the argument lies in the fact that no one is actually there to verify their claims. Thus, we chose to be open to both the possibility and impossibility that electric fans can fly when all the lights are closed and no one is there in the room – because we realize that being narrow-minded is not the solution, but rather opening the mind for other ideas, in acknowledgement of the limitations of human reason. I dare to strive to be a philosopher, not just because this is a good preparatory course for Law, but because this vocation challenges me to look at things relative to their time and place in human life. An open mind, enabled by philosophy, gives me the courage and strength I need to freely accept other ideas about reality (especially, to remind me that not everything I think and believe is true), to avoid being judgmental, and most importantly, to fulfill the duty that I have been created for by God. The value of open-mindedness is crucial to achieving the fullness of the human person. We are all created rational beings, to think beyond ourselves to be able fulfill our duties as “brother’s keeper” and “steward of the Earth”. It is necessary to remember that A) We need to learn how to understand one another so that we will be able to live harmoniously and work hand-in-hand for solutions to problems we face in our everyday lives; and B) We need to see the value of creation, beyond what we personally think on how we want to use it. Hence, philosophy is ultimately relevant to me and everyone else because it is innate to human nature.
 (Bergoglio 2010)