Wednesday, July 14, 2010

False Alternative #493: Minds Open or Closed

Ayn Rand on the issue of an 'open' mind.
"[There is a] dangerous little catch phrase which advises you to keep an 'open mind.' This is a very ambiguous term—as demonstrated by a man who once accused a famous politician of having 'a wide open mind.'

That term is an anti-concept: it is usually taken to mean an objective, unbiased approach to ideas, but it is used as a call for perpetual skepticism, for holding no firm convictions and granting plausibility to anything.

A 'closed mind' is usually taken to mean the attitude of a man impervious to ideas, arguments, facts and logic, who clings stubbornly to some mixture of unwarranted assumptions, fashionable catch phrases, tribal prejudices—and emotions.

But this is not a 'closed' mind, it is a passive one. It is a mind that has dispensed with (or never acquired) the practice of thinking or judging, and feels threatened by any request to consider anything."

Ayn Rand, Philosophy, Who Needs It

Or, as I like to put it, an open mind is like an open trash can. People put garbage in it.

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