This thing about having an open mind, sha . . .
So, my friend is twenty. When I visit her blog, I find only photos.
“Oh, I don’t really write stuff, I just post photos of people who inspire me.”
Lupita, Serena, Flo-Jo. I understand. She has a British passport, her parents are of African descent, and she grew up in The Netherlands. Her toned calves and arms speak of her devotion to track and field events.
She points, “I like this photo of Lupita, makes me feel that my arms aren’t too muscular.”
I understand. A long time ago, I used to clip photos of Naomi Campbell.
Many people I know surround themselves with images, words, and people who validate them and the choices they make. In a world of conflicting ideologies, without an anchor, one could find themselves on a raft in the middle of the ocean. It is harder to make progress while rowing in uncertainty.
I live with quotes, poems, photos, books, videos, and people who feed and reinforce what I believe. This invisible baggage, I carry with me wherever I go. Through this prism, I navigate my world and often it pits me against those who think differently, if I let it, if they let it.
In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight. – Ram Dass
It is natural to run towards information that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, so I can do a fist pump, “Yeah, I was right!” Certainly, it is difficult for me to shell twenty Euros on a book by an author who trashes what I hold sacred, but you’ll find me online reading his viewpoint free of charge, like someone with an “open mind”.
Reading opposing viewpoints gives me a broader view of the world. It challenges me to question what I believe and in that process, exposes what I really believe. It stretches my thinking so I can deconstruct the author’s argument one by one and thereby hold on to mine.
Is there such a thing as reading with an open mind? Perhaps for those on a raft in the middle of the ocean and not for those on a ship anchored in the harbour.
The human brain knows many tricks that allow it to consider evidence, weigh facts and still reach precisely the conclusion it favors1.
©Timi Yeseibo 2015
- Gilbert, Daniel. “I’m O.K., You’re Biased” Published: April 16, 2006 www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/opinion/16gilbert.html?pagewanted=print
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