Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More ideas about Open Minds

Thanks to Dr. Thursday, here is another good "open minded" quote:
if I have never experienced such a thing as green I cannot even say that my nose is not green. It may be as green as possible for all I know, if I have really no experience of greenness. So we shouted at each other and shook the room; because metaphysics is the only thoroughly emotional thing. And the difference between us was very deep, because it was a difference as to the object of the whole thing called broad-mindedness or the opening of the intellect. For my friend said that he opened his intellect as the sun opens the fans of a palm tree, opening for opening's sake, opening infinitely for ever. But I said that I opened my intellect as I opened my mouth, in order to shut it again on something solid. I was doing it at the moment. And as I truly pointed out, it would look uncommonly silly if I went on opening my mouth infinitely, for ever and ever.
[from "The Extraordinary Cabman" in Tremendous Trifles]

And Dr. T also supplies the citation for yesterday's citationless quote:
"A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice. "

that is from ILN January 6, 1906 CW27:98 also printed as "The Methuselahite" in All Things Considered
Thank you Dr. T!


  1. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis sets a very similar parameter for how open a mind should be:

    "An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy."

  2. Great distinctions regarding open-mindedness vs. being open to learn something true.

    I think it's important to remember that the opposite extreme can be just as dangerous - pride and lack of docility that prevents learning - sometimes for the sake of shunning "open-mindedness".

    I've always liked the term "broad-mindedness" as a term for what we're aiming at. I picture a well-exercised (stretched, but not over stretched) mind that is fit and ready to consider what is presented to it and accept or not accept ideas as appropriate.

    Perhaps it also involves a bit of patience and fair-mindedness to understand what is proposed before making a judgment (like finishing a book or series of books - heehee - before making a final judgment).

  3. Yes, L2L, good points.

    I was just thinking, because someone once told me our minds, in order to work, should be like parachutes: open.

    But even parachutes open to "catch" something: the air. And a flower opens to the sun not just to hang there, but to "catch" the light and turn it into energy.

    So, we must be open, yes, but only in order to "catch" something, too.

    Broadmindedness is a good term. And it could start a good conversation.

    "Why don't you be more open-minded?"

    "I prefer the term broad-minded, which I believe myself to be."

    "Oh? What's the difference?"

    and then you can talk about that.

  4. The "have an open mind" phrase has always been a pet peeve of mine. I always retort back, "To have an 'open' mind makes you susceptible to believing anything. The mind should not be 'open', but rather 'discerning'. It's the heart that should be open."

    Quoting from an old blog post of mine:

    "We must work towards having a discerning mind, an open heart, a sanctified body, and a centered soul. I say a discerning mind meaning one that is set in wisdom, as opposed to a so-called "open mind" which can too easily believe or accept any random whim or fad that happens to sound good at the moment. Having an open heart which allows us to be vulnerable and compassionate, not one that quickly closes to hurt or resentment or indifference. A respect for the body as the temple of the Lord, not one that is treated as an end unto itself. And a soul focused away from self, and centered towards Christ."

  5. Great points Trubador. For me, the idea of broad-mindedness is also intimately connected with what our family has learned to call "the skeptometer." :)


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