Thursday, January 26, 2017

Are you Open-Minded?

I am seeing a surge of intellectual dishonesty.  With this highly charged political atmosphere, I want to bring this to light and challenge my friends to consider how they are intaking information.  Are we truly being open minded and 'scientific' as we form our beliefs?

I remember vaguely reading about early childhood developmental stages.  One in particular had to do with learning that people are not "all good" or "all bad."  It had something to do with how a child can think mommy is the greatest thing in the world when she's meeting his needs, but as soon as she says no about something, she's the devil!  It takes a level of growth to realize that people can be both.

I see too much of a lack in this stage in the adults out there.  It seems that we have our beliefs, and any evidence that comes to our attention that seems to counter that belief is immediately thrown out as false.  I'm not even referring to one particular issue or side of any issue.  This is all over the place.

If we are mature and open minded, we must acknowledge that every person has some good and some bad in them.  We all make mistakes, and hopefully we all try to be good people.  Can we possibly assume the same is true of our presidents?  Being a mature open minded adult means viewing each event separately and judging it for itself.  It's ok to dislike someone and find that they have done something good.  It's also ok to like someone and find that they have done something bad.  Both are involved in any human being you will encounter in life.  The same must hold true for those who voted for particular candidate.

For myself, I try to avoid clicking on any articles that have a blatantly biased headline, or one that tries to prey on our curiosity, or tries to get us enraged.  "you'll never believe..." "conservatives are livid..." "drops a bombshell"  These are just a few examples of sensational headlines.  The actual article rarely lives up to the hype.  I think our tendency is to click on things that speak to our already formed ideas and beliefs.  This just further fuels our need to believe someone is all good or all bad.  Making a judgement on a person based on a single photograph, or using said photograph to pad your idea of who someone is is also dangerous.  This has been a thing this week.  Extra photos and videos have later surfaced to show that maybe things aren't quite as the first photo led us to believe.

Do you know that not everyone who voted a certain way is exactly the same?  I happened to choose Trump this time around.  This does not mean I suddenly became a racist, it does not mean I am a mysoginist, and it certainly does not mean I think he is a wonderful moral man who will save the universe.  It means I read the campaign pages of the two candidates and chose the one whose stance on the issues most closely aligned with my beliefs.

I'm sure everyone who voted did so based on their own set of criteria and I choose to think the best of people.  I choose to believe that we all made the best choice we could based on our personal experiences and beliefs.  Our life experiences are all different, and those experiences shape our beliefs.  What if we talked to someone about their experiences in order to understand their beliefs?  I refuse to villainize those who did not vote like I did.  I choose to remember that I thought they were good decent people before, and they most likely still are.  That is called being mature and open-minded.  If my vote angers you to the point of shouting me down and calling me names and smashing in my windows, that's a pretty good sign that you are not walking in maturity and have believed the propaganda.  It is very possible for adults to have a civil conversation and discuss their views and for both to come away from the conversation having learned something and hopefully gained compassion.

What if we all stopped, cleared our preconceived notions, and started fresh today?  What if we could look at each individual event and decide if we agreed with it or not?  What if we listened quietly to why a person believes the way they do?  What if we could view a story without knowing who did it or who said it?  I wonder if our beliefs would change?

We can also take it outside the political arena.  What about the "scientific community" that has presented us with a certain belief system about how the world came to be and how it has operated ever since?  Are you aware that evidence surfaces all the time that contradicts that view, and the powers that be squelch it or destroy it because it goes against their narrative?  Have you ever seen the giant humanoid skeletons in any scientific exhibit?  There are quite a few old newspaper clippings reporting that archaeologists found them here in the US back in the late 1800's and early 1900's. They report sending those bones to The Smithsonian never to be seen again.... If this is true, The Smithsonian is participating in intellectual dishonesty by throwing out anything that points to something other than the established "facts."

What about aliens?  Vampires? Bigfoot? God? etc.  Most people will laugh off claims of personal encounters with these types of things, but if you look into it, the numbers of people reporting such encounters are staggering.  Considering how people are generally mocked for saying they believe in these types of creatures, why would so many actually report them? (and how many more have not reported for fear of being mocked?)  I think that a person who has always been sane and respectable doesn't suddenly become crazy because they report seeing something we don't believe is real.  I think the nature of a person before a report should lead us to question our own reality.  Do you know that 13 of our astronauts (people who go thru crazy amounts of screening before being selected) have reported seeing aliens and spaceships while up there?  Since you can't prove that something doesn't exist, it is arrogant and foolish to insist so strongly that you're right in believing they don't.  Now I'm not saying all this is real or even that it is what it seems to be, but I think being open minded means that we should look deeper instead of writing them all off as crazy just because they've said something outside of what we believe to be truth.

As always, I challenge you to think about how you think.  Are you really open-minded?  Are you intellectually honest?  Can you handle the idea that there are both good and bad pieces to every individual?  Can you hear the firsthand story of a person that you know and consider it even if it goes against what you currently believe?  Are you willing to grow? I hope so.

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