Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Conundrum

Light it up!

Open-minded: having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments. 2. Unprejudiced; unbigoted; impartial.

Close-minded: not willing to consider different ideas or opinions: having or showing a closed mind.

Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living, just before he was sentenced to death for impiety and corrupting the youth with his radical ideas. When I examine life, I end up with more questions than answers, which I guess means that I’m doing it right. I don't trust anyone, who claims to have all the answers. I’ve searched through many of the same caverns and mountaintops and I’m still left with a bag of questions. One question in particular has been gnawing my consciousness since the election: How does one, who is open-minded, stay open-minded with a close-minded individual?

Being nonjudgmental is a difficult task for the best of us. We judge other drivers on the road. We judge co-workers and customers. We judge other parents for the deeds of their children. We judge judges, juries and lawyers. We all make judgments. It’s part of being human. We try and discern danger and stupidity. Is this a good apple or a bad apple? Is this a good person or a bad person? Should I be on guard for my safety? Profiling is considering a prejudicial police tactic, but we all do it every day. One of the great paradoxes in our world is sharing so many similarities with our fellow humans, while simultaneously seeing our differences so starkly, and through so many filters. Objectivity is a near impossibility.

Nazis. I find of difficult to be sympathetic with Nazis. Climate change deniers and those, who say that evolution is “just a theory” obviously got a hold of some bad science at some point, and nobody of authority has bothered to straighten them out. There are viewpoints and then there is right and wrong. Facts and falsehoods. Facts and falsehoods are not about opinion. A fact means that it's undisputed. It's been gone at from many different directions by many different experts and this is their result. Peer reviewed, you might say. If changing data alters the initial result, they will then change their findings to reflect the truth. It’s not your truth and my truth. If that's how you label it then we’re not talking about truth. We’ve entered the territory of beliefs, and believing in something does not necessarily make it true. Oh, if only that were true!

At the end of the day, it’s more about my ego being bruised then it is about close-mindedness. I feel emasculated and disrespected when universally accepted truths are not also accepted as household truths. For my part though, much of it is about my desire to be right. I do not deny that. My ego needs crushing as much as the next guy’s, if not more so. Otherwise, I’d just chill-out. Live and let live. Let it be, and let it free. If you love someone, you set them free. Free to make the same mistakes you have made and even some new ones. In the meantime, I need to learn to eliminate desire. “When there is no desire, all things are at peace.” – Tao Te Ching, verse 37

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in a scene from "Shall We Dance" (1937)


Dana Gaskin Wenig said...

Nice piece, Mark. My mom sent me this quote and I thought of you,"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size."
Albert Einstein

Hayduke said...

Thanks Dana!