Have you ever had anyone accuse you of being close minded? It’s quite unsettling and very difficult to refute without back peddling so fast you could win the Tour de France in reverse or sounding incredibly arrogant. I don’t really have a problem with appearing arrogant but lets look at this thing called Open Mindedness. The usual people who use this phrase, and they wield it like a bludgeon, do so with the seeming belief that it means approximately: “Accept without question”. This is certainly one way to look at it but I think the better definition would be: “Use all available resources to come to a reasonable conclusion”. Unfortunately my definition requires something that is distressingly close to effort.

I would agree with many that being open minded is a good thing but those that brandish the admonishment of “Closed Minded” seem to do so as if it is a talisman to ward off them that would subject their claims to rational scrutiny. And in so doing reveal themselves to be ones whose minds have shut up shop, drawn the blinds and quite possibly, gone fishing. The ability to view all propositions with an eye to determining their merit or lack-there-of without reflexive dismissal nor acceptance is the mark of the truly open mind. It is also inordinately difficult to do.

All claims should be open to criticism and rational discussion. Those that are backed up with reasonable arguments and evidence should be accepted, those that are not should be considered, at most, provisional. The accusation of close mindedness should not be a substitute for evidence or used as a blockade for preventing inquiry and analysis. So next time someone doesn’t buy into your pet theory, step back and consider who has the more open mind.