The early part of the 21st century was home to a population of people who believed the Earth was flat. Clinging to a never ending stream of questioning and ignorance, they managed to sway the minds of seemingly healthy minded individuals. The time represented a scary ideological period. We were reminded of how susceptible we are to being influenced in our behavior and thought. We were reminded of how sure someone can be in their belief of falsehood.
A mistake by those on the opposing side of the ‘flat Earth’ theory, was to dismiss this, very obviously dismissible, notion too forcefully and quickly. It is difficult to maintain the reputation of being an open minded individual when someone else’s idea goes so against your common sense, that the idea of it spreading scares you. The thought that people can be firm believers of non existent truth is scary. It isn’t difficult to understand rational people’s desire to strictly oppose obviously bogus ideologies the first chance they get.
This article hopes to encourage you to never be too quick in dismissing some of people’s obviously incorrect patterns of thinking. Though you may be totally correct in the opinions which you hold, the act of being forceful in your dismissal of blatantly false ideology can encourage their growth.
An Open Mind Shouldn’t Be Selective With What It Is Open Toward
A mind which selects what it is open minded toward, even in the most extreme of cases, is no longer a mind that’s open. Authentic open mindedness involves the analysis of any new idea, even some of the more unproven ones, with seriousness and respect. An authentic attempt at collecting and observing evidence should take place. Even if you absolutely know for a fact an idea to be incorrect, dismissing it prior to calmly explaining why it is incorrect is a mistake. To the believers of the incorrect ideas around you, your quick and forceful dismissal will render your opinion as just another enemy to their cause. They will perceive you to be close minded, as the behavior of dismissing ideas too quickly is behavior exhibited by close minded individuals. Their lack of a knowledgeable understanding of reality therefore, encourages them to obviously dismiss you just as you’ve obviously dismissed them.
Dismissing the most unintelligent of ideas too quickly can cause the people who believe them to strengthen their guards against real evidence. They need to be shown that you’re willing to go back and forth, and that your minded is willing to be changed based on the evidence they present too. Do not enter interactions with people you suspect of believing radically untrue ideas with the goal of dismissing and discouraging them. Go into those interactions with the goal of exhibiting a contagious sense of understanding. Thoroughly attempt to understand where even the most ignorant of individuals are coming from. Only once you do, respectfully present where you’re coming from while on your own pursuit for truth.
People Who Don’t Understand the Obviousness of Your Position
Not only does dismissing obviously dismissible notions have a negative effect on the people who already believe those ideologies, it has a negative effect on the people who are still deciding which side they should believe as well. Not everyone knows what you know. There will be people listening and watching your interactions with the ignorant, while being ignorant themselves. They will lean toward adopting the ignorant line of thinking, as it is typically an easier one to adopt. If you exhibit signs of close mindedness and ideological aggression, the chances that ignorant onlookers adopt the ideologies propagated by the ignorant presenters increase.
The toughest tests of open mindedness are those in which even the most open of minds has a desire to close the conversation prematurely. If you value one’s ability to remain open minded on their journey through life, then hopefully, this article motivates you in that pursuit.