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Are you open minded?

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 22:40
by Rebecca
A lot of people reckon they are open minded.

But in my experience, people are open minded to things that fit their worldview (naturally), but closed off to things that dont fit. They are entrenched in their views and suffer from confirmation bias. Myself included.

To claim open mindedness, shouldnt we apply objective thinking universally, without bias? Isnt that the whole point?

And yet, perhaps it's impossible for us to be open minded about everything.

It's our human survival instinct to look for patterns and draw conclusions, so that we can be prepared for future outcomes. We have to make snap judgments every day.

So is it inconceivable to remain completely open minded, all of the time?

What do you think? Are you an open minded person? What makes you think so?

How do you manage new concepts that conflict with your existing knowledge? Do you override your intuitive instincts and emotions? Do you override conventional wisdom? Are all of your conclusions fixed or tentative, pending more information?

How does open mindedness affect your philosophy of life?

"Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid." - G K Chesterton

Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 00:09
by Summerlander
Studies on the medial prefrontal cortex suggest that we humans are prone to confirmation bias and petitio principii. It has something to do with beliefs and disbeliefs and how we choose to protect certain views. To break the pattern we need to admit to ourselves that we can often be mistaken and in this way we may have to reconcile with the fact that the correct approach is to change our minds all the time in accordance with evidence and new information.

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Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 01:14
by nesgirl

Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 01:49
by deschainXIX
I think the key to true open-mindedness is meekness and selflessness. Being able to accept that most of your conceptions about the world are in fact false and based on unreliable (and thus outlandish) deductions. Most people are far too prideful for this.

I like to think that I'm a fairly open-minded person. (One could say, however, that calling yourself open-minded is closed-minded.) I'm a young person and have grown up in a family of conservative, pious narrow-minds, and that has sort of given me the necessary drive to be the opposite. If someone presents me with perfectly sound reasoning, I'll accept it, even if it goes entirely against my current worldview. (For example I only recently realized the nonexistence of reality and free will.) This, I speculate, is largely due to the fact that currently my worldview is drifting, searching for a place to settle down. I doubt it ever will. The world is largely too complicated and beyond my human, petty understanding, and that, I think, is the true key to open-mindedness. Being humble enough to admit that the world is greater than you.

Even if the physiology of the brain cannot allow us to go beyond the simple human nature to find LOGIC and RATIONAL CONNECTIONS and explain things based on one's previous knowledge and beliefs, one can at least accept the fact that one is too simple to ever truly figure it out.

Especially through lucid dreaming it can become more easy for people to retract the firm holds they have on their own reality and realize that reality is not only beyond them but totally nonexistent, and thus nothing can be truly assumed about anything. Because lucid dreaming is consciousness and consciousness is very important in all of this rubbish.
I don't know.
It's a truly mind-boggling world.
And I'm willing to accept that.

Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 02:20
by Summerlander
I'm always willing to learn and I believe science is the best method with which to study reality and formulate reliable theories. We can use quantum theory effectively even though there are so many interpretations. Wavefunction collapse or multiverse? Who knows! Both seem to work and the latter is gaining more and more credibility.

All of you touched upon valid points. Indeed we live in something greater than ourselves and that's amazing. I am also thankful that there are and have been so many great minds who are humble enough to admit that they don't know enough and are keen to investigate in order to reveal what is true about reality.

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Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 07:58
by Rebecca
Very good points. I suppose if we were truly open minded we would have to be extremely flexible, nothing would ever be certain truth, and we would have to ditch our egos. Sounds hard to me.

deschainXIX wrote:Being humble enough to admit that the world is greater than you.

Yes! And our attempts to understand it requires us to take a starting position, which clouds our view and makes us feel a little bigger than we actually are.

Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 10:27
by Summerlander
I've just come across something interesting in Sam Harris's "The Moral Landscape" which is somewhat pertinent to the topic I feel.

Neuroscientific studies show that uncertainty tends to activate areas of the brain associated with emotional pain and disgust as opposed to belief minus uncertainty and disbelief minus uncertainty.

Where feelings of certainty are involved, the caudate nucleus part of the basal ganglia activates in the form of a particularly strong signal which is highly viable in influencing cortical areas to do with motor action. This activity enables anticipation and reward as it is also linked to cognitive planning, reasoning when exposed to feedback, and guessing tasks.

Most of us like to be sure and we are not as open-minded as we would like to be when emotions are involved. This is not our fault, it's just the way we are made. To be open-minded to a reasonable level, effort is certainly required.

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Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 17:09
by deschainXIX
I've always suspected that. Humans hate the unknown, uncertainty, and simple not knowing more than anything else. The hate is derived from fear, as hate always is. Darkness and obscurity is truly man's greatest fear and the fundamental root of all subsequent fears, I think. I definitely need to pick up that book.

Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 19:07
by Summerlander
You will love any book by Sam Harris. He is one of the most eloquent voices of reason.

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Re: Are you open minded?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 21:03
by Karin
This topic of open-mindedness and belief systems is very dear to me. I think it is of prime importance, a fundamental issue.

I think we can strive to be open-minded, but we can never achieve it, at least not in this life, because of the way our brain works: after all, we construct representations of reality based on input from our five senses, which by definition is a very limited and narrow-banded way of exploring the world 'out there'.

We sort of live in boxes that enclose our current view of the world, and it is very difficult to perceive anything that does not fit in the box, it gets automatically filtered out in most cases. Below is a scientific study that illustrate this phenomenon.

Gorillas in the Lung
Inattentional blindness causes 83 percent of radiologists to fail to spot an image of a gorilla inserted into the CT scan of a pair of lungs.

"Their findings, published Wednesday (July 17) in Psychological Science, show that 83 percent of radiologists did not spot an image of a gorilla inserted into the CT scan of a pair of lungs they were asked to evaluate. The results demonstrate that even highly trained observers fall victim to inattentional blindness. ... Eye tracking during the experiment indicated that the majority of the radiologists who did not report seeing the gorilla looked directly at it."

"This study helps illustrate that what we become focused on becomes the center of our world, and it shapes what we can and cannot see."

Every now and then, usually after a traumatic event, a paradigm-enclosing box gets busted (at a personal level or at society level), but IMO it gets quickly replaced by another box, hopefully a larger one, but still a box. In my personal experience, there is a 'honeymoon' period right after there is a major hit to our belief systems, where we are more open-minded than normal: as we are ejected from a dogma-box, it takes a while until we land back into another box, and this transition period is the most open, but also the most destabilizing...

It's funny, I knew early on in my life that I had to avoid 'belief systems' as the plague. As I was running away from organized religion and cultural brainwashing, and instead turning to science thinking this was guarantied to keep me grounded in 'reality', I did not realize that I was running head-first into another belief system trap. A large portion of today's science is dogmatic and rejects what does not fit in the current scientific paradigm, it took me 20 years of my adult life to discover it.

I just listened to a talk by William Buhlman on OBEs, consciousness exploration, dogma and belief systems, that states this stuff very clearly. I LOVED this presentation, I was pumping my first saying 'YES' all throughout. Finally, something that's making sense! WHOOHOO!!!! "Everything, every theory, every belief, every perception, is FLAWED". We should ALWAYS keep this in mind, and then we are really ready to explore.