Being Open Minded

I had an interesting comment to my post, Parking Lot Spirituality, a few days ago, one that I responded to not once, but twice.   To start with, the comment suggested a book that might help me begin to share some of (my) young friends enthusiasm for The Celestine Prophecy.   You can read the comment for yourself here, but it seemed to me that the rest of the comment implied that I was less than open minded.   It’s my experience that most times someone suggests I’m not open minded, it’s code for if only you were, you’d see what is so obvious to me.   So, yes, my first response was somewhat defensive.   But the comment raised several interesting themes, so in my second response I expressed appreciation.

The big file cabinet that I call my brain has four drawers.   The bottom drawer is labeled Bullshit, if you’ll pardon the expression.  Ideas are in the bottom drawer because I know I’ll never need to look at them again.   You can find the prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 based on the Mayan calendar and all The Secret‘s Law of Attraction nonsense.  The next drawer is for Possibilities.   You’ll find “lightning bolt” miracles there, even though I’ve never seen one … and the possibility we have the invisible energy centers within us called Chakras.   The idea that we exist in the mind of God, that indeed thought is the origin of creation is in the possibilities drawer, too.   The next drawer is marked Beliefs.   There, you’ll find a Higher Power I choose to call God … the idea we carry a divine spark within us … a belief that we each have a purpose in the ongoing act of creation.    My beliefs are not so much determined by  factual evidence but by what I would call experiential evidence … my life works better or feels better when I choose these beliefs.  I will never understand the nature of life and the universe, much less God, yet I feel something I call my soul when I listen to Mozart’s Requiem or watch my grandchildren play, factual or not.  Once in a while, a Possibility moves up to the Beliefs drawer.   And of course, the top drawer is full of Knowledge, not just the provable science but the experiences too sure to deny, like love, beauty and death.   My Beliefs sometimes flirt metaphorically with my Knowledge but the kind of transformation my commenter envisioned isn’t likely.   So, am I open minded?

It is telling that if you explore a convenient list of quotes, say,, you will find quotes espousing the benefits of an open mind and cautioning against the dangers.   Try, for example, An open mind leaves a chance for someone to drop a worthwhile thought in it (anonymous) and The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it (Terry Pratchett).    Or There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier (Charles F. Kettering) and I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out (Harold T. Stone).    Or The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind (E. B. White) and You can have such an open mind that it is too porous to hold a conviction (George Crane).  A post by Jack on Frethink puts it nicely:   Being open minded does not require us to automatically accept every thought that enters our head, believe every notion floated by anyone, accept the possibility of even the most outlandish idea.  To be open minded is to be willing to be convinced.  It’s to be willing to set aside preconceived notions in the face of factual evidence to the contrary.  Being open minded means that a person is willing to change their mind when presented with an adequate reason to do so. I’d pretty much agree, except for the insistence on factual evidence.

I’m not close minded because my Bullshit drawer is full … or because my standards for Knowledge are exacting.  And having Beliefs and Possibilities allows me to be open minded without endless arguments about proof as I choose the course of my life.  What’s in your file cabinet?

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8 Comments on “Being Open Minded”

  1. ram0singhal Says:


    OPEN = 0 pen = Zero pen





  2. grandawn Says:

    I also agree with the definition of open mindedness by Jack on Frethink (except for the part about factual evidence). What I find interesing about open mindedness is that many people who insist that I should be more open minded are not open to my thoughts or opinions. Hmmmmm. . .

  3. granny1947 Says:

    I have reduced my filing cabinet down to two drawers.
    Things I HAVE to remember:
    Bank details and passwords.
    ID number.
    My grandchildren’s names.
    My grandchildren’s birthdays.

    Things I should remember:
    All work related stuff.

    For the rest…ideas waft in and gently waft out again.
    Sometimes I write them them down!

    • oldereyes Says:

      As you’d guess, my file cabinet is very full. Sometimes good (people are sometimes amazed at my recall), sometimes bad (too much stuff to hunt through). But you’re right … I think I have a desk drawer for important things like passwords and grandkids …

  4. my file cabinets are made of recycled fiber, they are great for holding large file folders ;`,

  5. Brice Says:

    Hey! This can be my first comment in this article i really merely wanted to give a quick shout out and let you know I really take pleasure in looking at your content. Are you able to recommend any blogs

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