Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Open Mind

What does it mean to have an open mind?

Although it is a highly lauded state, I think that many remarkably intelligent and articulate individuals have yet to make the distinction between keeping an open mind and deciding from experience what, after all, is actually impossible. While being encouraged to keep an open mind about something we do not yet fully understand may indeed lead to knowledge, more often than not, this notion of seeking knowledge by remaining 'open' to every possibility is used as a smokescreen for those who wish to do the exact opposite: obfuscate the very knowledge we are seeking and keep us from separating the clearly impossible from the probable and possible.

This is because those who would keep an open mind often do so for the purpose of including 'facts'--for convenience's sake, they remain unsourced--that are not proven or do not even fall into the realm of the remotely factual, like 'astral planes' and 'alternate realities'. With no solid definition because these terms are examples of vapid inventions meant to look like fact, if we have no,knowledge with which to counter them, we are forced to accept these false 'facts' on face value, as presented.

Worse still are twisted versions of actual facts, like the attributing healing powers to magnetism and/or electrical currents. Why? Because this sort of mis-information can actually be harmful. By removing the safe restraints of doubt to these physical powers, a naive 'understanding' can actually lead to injury or an exacerbated condition due to the absence of logical care.

In other words, when someone who has cancer believes that wearing a copper bracelet will cure their cancer, they might say to a non-believer that the non-believer is not keeping an open mind. Further, when this fails, as it must, the disappointed believer might add that the reason for the failure of the 'cure' has to do with the wearer's failure to believe fully, rather than the absence of physical properties in the copper bracelet that have anything to do with, let alone cure, cancer.

Personally, I think that having an open mind bears a certain responsibility to seek the truth no matter how difficult it might be to hear the real answer. Having a genuinely open mind would cause the hopeful seeker and serious skeptic alike to ask, "So, just what is it about wearing a copper bracelet that cures cancer? Please explain what exactly happens between the copper bracelet and my cancer. How, exactly, does it work?" Our questioners should expect to have the phenomenon explained to their satisfaction, in a manner that is both logical and credible.

For some, those standards might be rather low, understandably, for most of us aren't really interested in the exact details, just the gist of it, but for me the standards of logic and credibility are quite high and certainly uncompromising. If I am told that science can't explain it, or that I wouldn't understand it anyway because it's just too complicated to make easy sense of it, then my open mind would be unrestrainedly racing, questioning, searching for something, anything more on which to base my understanding. I would, in fact, not be satisfied at all.

Even less satisfying, almost annoying to me anyway, is to be told that it is God's will, or simply a factor of the intersection of alternate forms of physics. It may be fashionable or sound serious, but in the end, this sort of facile and false reckoning is often masked as personal experience or worse, something which was revealed by a higher power. Either way, it is to me clear evidence that the teller has not yet learned the truth.

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