Mind Wide Open

Why are we so attached to ideas? Questioning the validity of ideas/beliefs is healthy. Bias is very real, and ulterior motives can be found on both sides of every debate. If an idea appeals to us, why not question why it is so enchanting. Does it strike some deeper, personal chord that makes us cling to it? Losing an idea isn’t the loss of ourselves. Most of the time, we gain more than we lose; we gain several new perspectives that open our mind to a world of possibilities. Rene Descartes found that he could doubt everything except his own thinking… I used to cling to this idea. How powerful the mind is when everything can be doubted in the world. But I now know that thoughts can be doubted too. Ideas are like a field of flowers. When old ones wilt and die, new ones spring to life. I hope that my ego doesn’t overpower my continuous quest for knowledge, as hard as this may be sometimes.

Being willfully ignorant when facts and information are readily available to you; holding steady onto an idea simply because it is what you think is right and closing your mind to any other possibilities even if there is evidence in their favour is nothing but a result of an unchecked ego. Similarly, intellectual snobbery, or believing that you are superior to others because you had the privilege of circumstances which led you to achieve a certain level of education that others may not have is also a result of an unchecked ego. Neither of these things make an opinion superior to anyone else’s. The only thing one should strive for is an open mind, because an open mind is open to being incorrect and open to new information. How someone can ever think that they are 100% right about something, whether as a result of not wanting to learn more or thinking they have already learned it all, is beyond my comprehension.

This is my mantra: Question, learn, grow.

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” -Albert Einstein

 

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2 thoughts on “Mind Wide Open

  1. This makes me think what an abstract concept an “open mind” really is. Huxley believed that the brain is a sort of “reducing valve” while in normal waking consciousness. By abstracting and categorising, the mind filters the infinity of experience into meaningful chunks so we can navigate and understand, eat, sleep and stay alive. The catch is, we develop structures around our perceptual experience we take as fact unchanging, forgetting that these structures are built and maintained by our own minds, not by some universal existential truth. Through dramatic experiences, deep meditative practice, or in Huxley’s case, taking 200 micrograms of Mescaline, the flood gates are thrown open and one can see the world as it “truly is”, void of the conceptual and narrative frameworks built around everything. One can see what the world looks like without all the attachment to ideas one walks around with on the day-to-day.

    So just how much of this adaptive conceptual framework can we do away with in the service of developing an open mind? For me, I can’t even convince myself to stop thinking long enough to take just 10 deep breaths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point. An open mind can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In terms of doing away with this framework, I certainly haven’t accomplished that in my lifetime, nor am I trying to say I have in my blog post. I hope it doesn’t come across like I think I have an open mind and others don’t. I think there have been several times, such as with my Descartes example, where I clung to an idea for no other reason than it was comforting or I liked the way it made me feel. I guess what I’m arguing for is at least *trying* to see our own biases, especially when it comes to our opinions. Whether an open mind is truly attainable though is not something I can answer. Perhaps my own conception of an “open mind” in this post is best described as hyperbolic.

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