Open-Mindedness

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Jenn, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Jenn

    Jenn New Member

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    After doing some reading, I found something that might be of interest here in regards to the values of being open-minded and a good listener. It seemed relevant to an Interfaith forum.

    The Sufi Order International --- North America

    There is nothing wrong with being a fundamentalist in the sense that you stick to your beliefs. The problem is when you cannot listen or open yourself up to other perspectives, and it makes me wonder how much that unwillingness to change stems from a deep fear of losing the "Self" as perceived to be one's religious identity in the face of other identities, or what one perceives to be "Truth" in the face of other truths. I'd even say that this happens to people as nations and countries (not naming any!) who begin to throw their weight around, bully other countries and exhibit intolerance.

    The question then is how can we as a race and as individuals move from a place of fear to a place of openness? How can we get over our insecurities that lead to violence, hate, oppression, repression, etc?

    My thought is -- one person at a time, starting with ... yourself.
     
  2. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Hi Jenn

    The quality of discernment is key.
    A discerning individual is one who has acquired a lot of knowledge, but can continue to acquire ever more.

    What it involves is getting over one's fears.
    Exploring other perspectives requires this.
    But people are afraid of losing their identity, in that people will identify with their ideas about reality and attach personal significance to them.
    So then, any other perspective will be (subconsciously) viewed as a challenge, or a threat, to their person.

    To get over that requires humility...which is hard for experts and teachers/authorities as they have a vested interest in being "right"....after all....they are the "law", and they are accustomed to telling people "the way things are".

    To be "as little children" is not viewed as a prudent course by these types of people as they have spent years educating themselves out of their childish state, acquiring "wisdom" (or what they esteem as being wisdom), and they spend their days correcting/educating other foolish/childish and errant people.

    This flows down from the seats of authority down to the lowest levels of society, as people are chameleons and emulate what they are taught, even if they don't have much "on the ball".

    All of us who have gone through the education system have had it drummed into us from young on that we must be "right", and what is "right" is what those in authority tell us is "right".
    We are punished for being "wrong".
    But any thoughtful person can see that what is "wrong" is sometimes "right", and what is "right" is sometimes "wrong".
    But it is only the thoughtful who actually "get it" and see this condition.
    Most people accept what they are told and that is the end of it...they have no real interest in doing further research, or exploring alternatives.
    So it is this inherent "laziness" which is a chief obstacle in any open-minded progress.
    This can only be changed by teaching children from young on to be "critical thinkers", and original thinking coupled with research rather than regurgitation by rote needs to be addressed.
     
  3. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Pathetic earthlings

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    we need to be sanctified

     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I think the key point with open-mindedness is not about taking on other people's points of view, as much as being able to ask questions and not be satisfied with your own answers, thus requiring further investigations/analysis/experience.

    If someone describes an interesting idea, it is difficult to simply take it on board as your own - surely you need to fit it into your own perceptual set so that such an interesting idea can make sense with an existing world view? Which undoubtedly requires further examination of already existing beliefs?
     

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