Thoughts on open-mindedness |

Thoughts on open-mindedness

John V A Holmes
Breckenridge, CO Colorado

Re: Letters to the Editor. I take it as a given that a belief is a kind of frame enclosing a limited area. No matter how big that frame, it shuts out more than it lets in. A believer, in other words, sees only what lies within the frame of what is believed. I play a little game with myself when I read letters to the editor or other opinion pieces, no matter where they appear. I ask myself, “Is this person writing from inside some unshakable belief, limited by ignorance of anything lying outside the frame, where little or no thinking goes on and the intent is to shout others down?”

The answer is usually obvious. If so, I have no need to consider what the writer has to say. Or, “Is this person writing from some open-minded space, where beliefs are at best tentative, where thinking is shared, where the intent is participate in a discussion?” If so, I am very interested in what the write has to say. Now, I have some very strong tentative beliefs, beliefs supported by my efforts to learn as much about the subject as I can, beliefs I am able to express in my own words. But behind each of my beliefs there is a fundamental uncertainty, an understanding that I could be wrong.

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