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Thread: Open-mindedness

  1. #1

    Default Open-mindedness

    This is a topic I was thinking about last night and I realized that this community is probably one of the best places to discuss it.

    Ever since I was young, it seems like there's always been a general mentality that being "open-minded" is "good" and that being "close-minded" is "bad". While I can certainly see where that mentality comes from (and I think it'd be neat to hear some discussions about it in this thread), I also think it's a bit of an over-simplification of the subject.

    I'm willing to bet that everyone is close-minded on some topic, at least to a certain degree. For example, I would guess that most people here wouldn't be open minded towards something like pedophilia (at least not to a full extent).

    Even beyond that extreme example, however, I think it's arguable that there are some topics that one can feel comfortable being firm, or grounded, or strong willed about. Considering *B/DL's are generally more open in nature, this may not be as popular a stance...but I wouldn't want to assume that no one here places any value in the common saying: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

    So a few questions to get people started:

    First off, to you personally, what does it mean to be open-minded?

    Secondly, how open minded do you consider yourself? What does "acceptance" mean? Do you just hear people out on topics, or do you strongly consider everything you hear? How easily are you willing to change your views?

    Thirdly, to what degree do you think everyone should be open-minded? A common answer is "People should let other people be free to be themselves without harming/hurting anyone else." If that's a part of your answer, what do you consider "harmful/hurtful"?

    Finally, what kinds of things are you close-minded about? Try not to choose things that are kind of obvious...rape, murder, terrorism, Bush (just kidding on that's just been a popular answer nowadays, I don't mean to make any sort of political statement here ). Are these things that you feel completely fine being close minded about or do you feel at fault for feeling that way?

    I know that's a lot of topics and it's a complex idea...but it's something I don't think is often explored enough, and since the *B/DL community is in general a very open minded one, I'm quite curious to hear some thoughts.

  2. #2


    1. Being willing to see both sides of an argument even if you don't agree with one particular side.

    2. I think I'm more open minded then average. Acceptance is being willing to at least tolerate something you don't agree with or understand. I strongly consider everything I hear. I'm willing to change my views if it's the more logical idea or opinion.

    3. I think people should be open-minded enough to see where the other side comes from, and not just say "This is wrong/disgusting/etc." immediately.

    4. Bush sucks (in my opinion). I can be closed minded about Abortion (Pro-life), Cloning (Pro-Cloning), and Stem Cells (Pro).

  3. #3


    Being open-minded, to me, means being willing to listen to the other side of the story, or to things that you have little to no knowledge of.

    I'm pretty much completely open-minded. I listen to all sides and try to be unbiased. HOWEVER.

    Me being me, I'm closed-minded to:
    -A social/religious agenda aimed at trying to convert me. My thoughts are mine, your thoughts are yours. If it's not trying to convert me, I'll gladly listen.
    -Country music. It sucks. Get over it.

    I also stay out of politics completely. In my opinion, it's pointless to argue over. Though I take a "that which governs least is best" approach.

  4. #4


    Being open-minded is being willing to accept new ideas, especially if those new ideas replace old ones you previously had. Open-mindedness is good, but that's only one half of the formula. The other half is your filter - how you decide what new ideas to let in. That's where demanding evidence and being skeptical comes in to play, and that's the part that many people ignore.

    I'll give an extreme example. As an open-minded person, I'd be open to the idea that maybe -- just maybe -- murder is a good thing. But you'd better have some damn good evidence to back that up if you came to me asking me to accept that idea. I dunno what that would be since I'm not taking the position that murder is good, but for the sake of argument, let's say we were living in a dream in which we were all trapped . Dying in the dream would cause us to wake up, and thus we could continue in real life. In that scenario, murder isn't actually killing someone - it would be freeing them from a prison. Like I said, that one was extreme and if anyone seriously proposed that idea to me, I'd be reaching for the phone to call 911. But if that person had some DAMN GOOD evidence, then maybe I'd come around to their way of thinking.

    Really, I'm willing to change any idea I have - you just have to have evidence. The more fantastic the claim, the more fantastic the evidence needs to be. If you were to tell me that I'm really a girl, I wouldn't believe you. I do know my penis fairly intimately (heh, yeah), so I'd be sure you're wrong. But if you had a genetic analysis done on me that showed a chromosomal anomaly and on a genetic level, I really was a girl, then I'd start to wonder. I'd want to confirm the results myself (and I would likely require therapy to come to grips with that revelation) but I'm certain that at least some of my deeply held notions and beliefs are wrong.

    Things I'm pretty damn sure about:

    There is no god, homeopathy doesn't work, psychics and religion are both holding back advancement of the human race by pretending to have answers to the really hard questions, whoever you chose to fuck or get fucked by is just fine as long as everyone is a consenting adult, and Lost is an overrated show.

  5. #5
    Butterfly Mage


    I'm pretty open-minded, but being open-minded isn't automatically "good" and being closed-minded isn't neccessarily "bad". One of my best friends is the nicest person you'd ever meet, but his mind is as closed as Fort Knox.

    I think the problem if someone is closed-minded is that he/she won't be able to adapt to new situations easily.

  6. #6


    For anyone who has nine minutes and forty seconds available, this is a pretty engaging and good video on the very subject:

    YouTube - Open-mindedness

  7. #7


    Open mindedness is a two edged sword. On one hand, being able to accept and discuss anything is great. On the other, once one has made a serious look at the subject and done research, you should be able to form a solid and well thought out opinion on it, and to defend your opinion.

    I fear there's a trend now to move away from this desire to engage in material and really look at what people believe, and why they believe it. We ask each other, and we act nice, but much of society in general is afraid to really dig into each others beliefs and try to tear them apart. Personally, I have a small group of mentors and friends I go to for just this treatment. It's the only way I've found to really get past my own beliefs, and be able to examine them from the outside. As we shy away from this testing, we really shy away from the opportunity to grow in a very important way, by subjecting our core beliefs to brutal scrutiny. If they're strong, valid beliefs, this testing will only make them stronger. If they're not, we're forced to really look at them, and often transcend nihilism to achieve something greater. This also requires training in rhetoric and debate, as well as a solid classical education, an understanding of people, art and history, but it can be well worth the work.

    my $0.02.

    -- Thad

  8. #8


    Being open-minded means being the opposite of Bill O'reilly. *Baddum-tish*

    Anyways, being open minded is just being able to accept all sides of the story as individual opinion, even if you do not agree with it, and to not push it (the counter-argument) off as false without a logical argument.

  9. #9


    1. It means what you said later in your post. People should let other people be free to be themselves without harming/hurting anyone else.

    2. I think I'm very open minded (Except about certain things). Acceptance is pretty much what it means to be open minded. Tolerate most things (even if you don't agree)... as long as no one is harmed. I like to consider everything, but sometimes some views make more sense than others. Whether I'm willing to change my views depends on the subject and what views are being presented. Sometimes I'm willing to understand where the other person is coming from, but still disagree completely with the methods/specifics. The main thing I'm very close minded toward is close-mindedness.

    3. "People should let other people be free to be themselves without harming/hurting anyone else." And harmful things are just.... harmful things. If it hurts someone, then it's bad. If it discriminates against someone, then it's usually bad. Unfortunately, lots of people aren't very open minded.

    4. The only thing I can think of right now is close-minded opinions. I tend to pick the side of most issues that seems the most open-minded. There are some subjects I have very strong opinions about though, but what can I do about it? Each person is entitled to his or her opinion, even if I don't like it, and sometimes even if I do find the opinion to be a harmful one when put into practice. I could insult them or whatever, but it's pretty much pointless, especially if it's a popular-to-have opinion.

  10. #10


    Just because you are firm, grounded, and strong-willed about something does not mean you are closed-minded.

    Open-mindedness is being willing to look at the other side of the argument, and to consider the reasons that people have for their opposing opinions. You don't have to agree with them, you just have to be open to the fact that there are ides other than you own.

    Closed-minded people are the ones who refuse to listen to any argument for something they are against, and who immediately disregard any information that contradicts there viewpoint.

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