In a quest to remain open-minded, I’ve been making a conscious effort to run my thoughts through the filter – “would I think this way were I a different person, with a different set of experiences?” Far too many problems in this world are caused by people trying to assert their beliefs, without making room for alternative perspectives. The US and the USSR paralyzed the world over social and economic preferences. Parents and children fall out over disagreements on religion and culture. Everyone sticks to his or her ground exasperated, yet no one is better for it.
Keeping this filter on is challenging; I try to aid this process by periodically reminiscing moments that shook my beliefs and revealed flaws in my understanding. One such lucid moment was when I first understood special relativity and quantum theory. My Newtonian perception of the world had then been shattered to bits. Objects could be in two places at the same time! Time could slow down and speed up! These statements were true, and yet they were in direct conflict with observations that I thought to be self-evident. My views were verifiably fallible. Who knew?
I hope I always live up to this interpretation of “open-mindedness”, and not just some liberal version of it. I leave you with a few other statements that I once believed, but have since come to reconsider:
- Religion has no place in an evolved society.
- Representative democracy is the best system of government.
- Unadulterated capitalism is the best system of economy.
- Citizens are entitled to more rights than immigrants.
- There is unquestionable nobility in being a soldier.