I am Not Open Minded

Deep within us all lies the craving for belonging. It is this pulsating need that leaves us vulnerable to bandwagons. Their resolute sound bites, witty hashtags and rousing visuals strum our heartstrings, bidding our hearts (eager for approving backslapping) to dance to their tunes and join the happy band of fist-pumping acolytes. So we climb aboard, pick placards and add our voices, waiting for the rush, the rush of acceptance; the heartwarming slap on the back.
Bandwagons run on the quick burning fuel of feelings. Feelings, as any advertiser worth their time slot will tell you, are the quickest acting of motivators but are not known for their longevity. Thus, when the priggish fervour of being “on the right side of history” burns out to leave cold ash of sobriety, many bandwagoneers are left both wondering why they joined such a silly group and trying to jump off without losing face.
In the past, words that simultaneously kept acolytes in check and silenced disapproving outsiders were thrown around. Words like witch and heretic come to mind. In recent times, “close minded”, “privilege” and “biased” are the word grenades of choice. There are times when they are justified but much too often, they are grenades hurled to silence dissent. Impassioned sloganeering has replaced calm reasoned discussion, leaving zombies drawn by popularity in its wake in place of people driven by conviction.
It is this type of open mindedness that I turn from with horror and disgust. I am unashamedly biased because I realise that not all ideas and attitudes are equal or to put it bluntly: some ideas are stupid or reckless. I am open minded only as far as I can think things through. Rather than obsessing over popularity and the absurd conceited notion of being “on the right side of history,” I prefer to ask: is it true, good, viable and how will it make me a better person?
These questions arise from my bias. I am biased toward striving to live up to an ideal of loving God and consequently, loving those He has created. I don’t mean love as a whimpering breathy sentiment but as a principle, a commitment to doing what’s best for the next person. This bias leads me to respect all people but not all their ideas. We all have biases, some good and others not so good. The cure for bad biases is not the search for some fanciful unbiased state but to look for good biases.
A mind that absorbs everything, absorbs the good and the bad but a discerning mind keeps a lot of nonsense out. A discerning mind is preferable but usually only grows from a good bias. I am unashamedly biased.

photo credit: paolobenegiamo.weebly.com Ferdinando Scianna /1 via photopin (license)


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