Some are fearful that their ideas may not stand up as well as they would like if they start to think about them. Others may want to stand upon the “politics of identity”, or in other words the kind of identification with a particular tradition, or group, or national or ethnic identity that invites them to turn their back on outsiders who question the ways of the group. They will shrug off criticism: their values are “incommensurable” with the values of outsiders. They are to be understood only by brothers and sisters within the circle. People like to retreat to within a thick, comfortable, traditional set of folkways, and not to worry too much about their structure, or their origins, or even the criticisms that they may deserve. Reflection opens the avenue to criticism, and the folkways may not like criticism. In this way, ideologies become closed circles, primed to feel outraged by the questioning mind.
Don’t avoid reading things or talking to people that you think you will disagree with. If you read this essay, don’t do it because you think you agree with it. If you believe in right wing politics, do not avoid people with left wing politics. Doing that just reinforces your beliefs and makes you close minded. It is essentially just a confidence boost, but you don’t learn anything new or improve yourself.
Different is Interesting
Instead you should be looking for new points of view, new ideas, ideas you disagree with, even on a fundamental level. While the title, or even first few paragraphs of a news article might seem like something you don’t agree with, that doesn’t matter. If someone you know claims to be a communist, that is no reason to avoid them or hate them. Sticking to people and ideas that you already know about and believe in is boring, because you don’t learn anything new. A civilised discussion or article can help you to understand why people think differently from you. Close minded people often just assume the reasons other people have for their different beliefs, and they reinforce those assumptions when they hear bits of what the other people say, but they don’t really try to understand.
If you don’t try to understand them, you can’t really say you disagree with them, you would just be close minded. Talking with a friend about something you both agree on is boring because you’re both just saying the same thing. What you should do is try to explain your point of view to others and have them explain theirs to you. This way you can compare your beliefs, and if eithers your or their facts or reasoning are wrong, then you can help each other by pointing that out and letting each other reevaluate your beliefs. This is both more interesting and more productive to everyone, as long as they are calm and open minded about it.
The Desire to Reinforce One’s Ideas
It is natural for people to either look for or stay with people that either agree with them or think like them. This is partly because it is easier and perhaps more fun to be friends with people like that, but it is also because they can talk about their shared ideas without argument.
People also naturally look for or choose to read articles and news that they agree with, rather than reading something that seems like they will not like or agree with it.
If you surround yourself with people and information that reinforces your beliefs, then you will not expose yourself to many new ideas. This is close minded and quite dangerous. The longer you do this, the more close minded you will become and the less likely you will be to consider others’ opinions or ideas, and the less likely, and to consider that your opinions and beliefs may be incorrect or flawed.
Especially in philosophy, it is vital that you read the views of others that you disagree with. You can only know if you really disagree with them if you truly understand their beliefs and the reasoning they used to come to those conclusions. If you do not truly understand them, or if you simply assume you understand them without really trying, then you are just being close minded and rejecting beliefs because it is easier and more convenient for you.
It is essential to being open minded that you not only look for positive information about things you believe in, but negative ones too.
- Close minded people might have confirmation bias towards information about something they believe. This means that they will happily read and consider evidence that supports their beliefs, while ignoring other evidence.
- Close minded people might also reject anything that they see as a threat to their beliefs without even considering them or really trying to understand them.
There is a standard format of essays in the United States that consists of stating one’s conclusion in the first paragraph, and then supporting it with evidence in the following paragraphs. This format of essays presents a problem when read by a close minded person.
- If the person disagrees with the conclusion at the start, they might reject all the following evidence simply because they know it is evidence -for- something they disagree with, and they might be looking for reasons, true or not, to claim that the conclusion is false.
- If the person agrees with the conclusion at the start, they might blindly accept all the following evidence, because instead of wondering if the conclusion is correct, they instead assume it, which then justifies the evidence for them. This is the opposite of how it should work; evidence can justify they conclusion based on them, but a conclusion cannot justify the evidence it is based on.
Similarly with news, a close minded person is more likely to believe news if it supports their beliefs. If it does not support their beliefs, they are more likely to think it is false, incorrectly stated, or that it is biased news.
They may be correct in thinking that the news is correct, false, or biased, but the reasons they used to decide that are fallacious. Since their reasoning is incorrect, they are likely to be wrong about the truth and bias of news. This is why it is important to find unbiased news sources and consult various news outlets, taking into account their bias, to determine what the actual truth is.
Being close minded and reinforcing your unchanging ideas will make you even more close minded. Such people generally either continue to hold their same limited beliefs, become crazy since they do not accept the truth, or because of their unwillingness to accept that they may be wrong they make mistakes that cost them dearly, and it may only be then that they realise that they were mistaken.
Religious zealots and ultrapatriots are examples of how closed mindedness can make people into extremists by sticking to a fixed set of beliefs. This is because fixed beliefs are unreasonable, in the literal sense in that they lack proper reasoning. Instead of using logic to determine if those beliefs are in fact correct, they assume them and reject counter evidence or any attempts to analyse those beliefs. Since this can only be done by rejecting logic, these people naturally will be more likely to believe fallacies and not know how to use logic correctly. As a result, they become less and less logical and eventually cannot make basic decisions related to the real world.
Don’t read this essay, or any of my other essays simply because you agree with them. If you only read things that you think you will agree with, then you are not really learning or improving yourself, but instead just reading it to convince yourself that you are not mistaken. This is essentially a confidence boost, and little more. There is little reason to read something if it doesn’t tell you anything new. On the contrary, you should read things that offer you something new: a new point of view on something, a new idea, an idea that you think you’d disagree with, but it is presented such that you might understand the reasons for it.
Being open minded means that you analyse and doubt your own ideas and reasoning, which requires investigating new ideas to relate to your own, so that you determine what is true.
Peace must be obtained through mutual understanding, not through force. This means that a peace created through strict control cannot be called true peace, and neither can a peace that people have been tricked into or forced to want.
One of the most common and feasible ways to achieve peace is to eliminate all of one’s rivals to avoid armed conflict. This is however not resolving disputes between multiple parties, it is avoiding them altogether and enforcing your own will on others. This is selfish and inefficient. Unless conflicts are resolved peacefully and logically, then such issues will only come back to cause more conflicts. An example is when revolutionary forces try to overthrow an oppressive government. This is usually done since the government abuses it’s power and tries to maintain peace through control and oppression, not allowing people to start conflicts. If one side is doing something wrong and does not listen to reason, then it is sometimes justified for others to force them to stop. This will naturally result in a war, however this should only be done if the oppressors will not stop unless forced to.
As a result of this war, the oppressive government will try to eliminate it’s opposition to ensure peace and control. If they succeed in doing this, they will have attained peace, but it is not true peace and will only result in more rebellions. If the rebels however win, then it allows them a chance to establish a more open minded government which can lead to true peace.
Another less common way of attaining peace is by tricking people. This can range from the Nazi policies of brainwashing their youth and populace into believing lies to promote the government’s control, or in the future, by consolidating people’s wishes and thoughts to conform to an arbitrary idea that does not allow people to fight. Forcing others to think in a certain way or to not think at all will stop them from fighting and create peace, but it completely disrespects their freedom, individuality, thoughts, and intelligence. This is not true peace, it is one of the worst possible outcomes for humanity.
Living peacefully is not worth it if no one can live freely. Freedom, in both a political sense and the freedom to think and act without external forces changing or liming you, is equally as important as living in peace. Those who live in war will often yearn for peace so much that they will neglect freedom, and those who lack freedom will often neglect the notion of peace for what they consider is a greater good. These are the actions of extremist acting on misguided emotions or ignorant logic. While either peace or freedom might sometimes be more important in certain situations, and while one or the other might need to be temporarily and partially sacrificed, the only valid form of civilisation is one with both peace and freedom.
True peace is where multiple parties can discuss issues and come to resolutions without having to resort to war or control. Naturally when more than one party is involved there will be different opinions and goals. This does not mean that to attain peace one should eliminate the other parties, or combine all parties into one. Mankind must learn to co-exist with the great diversity we have. We must accept and encourage our diversity, not try to eliminate it. Diversity grants us strength, the open minded will learn from one another and be able to come to more sound and justified conclusions than those who disrespect each other.
Through education, not force or brainwashing, we can solve the world’s problems by working together and understanding each other. It is only one a global framework of understanding and empathy has been established that future generations will reject immorality, selfishness, abuse of power, control, superiority, and war. If you think this is naïve and inefficient, then consider that forcing peace is similarly inefficient. Do not be so cynical that you dismiss mankind as being inherently incapable of being good, or unable to change their ways. While there have been countless wars in the bloodstained history of the Earth, consider also the reasons for these wars and who fought them. The vast majority of humankind has not taken part in a war. Few people unless directly threatened and justifiably defended themselves, or brainwashed by the lies of their leaders, have ever fought in a war. The average person does not want to kill and does not want to fight. This is not out of cowardice or inability, this is because they are not made to fight. Animals do not fight either, they hunt when needed as dictated by their instinct. One could then assume that humans fight because our intelligence allows us to attain our goals through more clever means such as war, but this is a lie that one would tell themselves to justify their cynicism. Wars are started by those who are selfish and lack empathy, those who are close minded and refuse to be logical. Wars have been decreasing in recent history, and areas of the world have not seen armed conflict in decades if not centuries, and some civilisations have never had wars.
This all leads to one conclusion: that fighting is not a part of human nature. At the very least, war is not a part of human nature. War is an illogical consequence of close minded, selfish people, and them alone. While an open minded and selfless person may start a war, the majority of the blame lies with those who perpetrate crimes against humanity and force good men to start wars.
By educating everyone in the world, at least starting with some countries, to understand, empathise, and work and discuss issues with each other, true world peace is attainable. Once that has been attained. we can make even greater progress to solve the rest of the world’s problems by working together. This will be a long process that will show little progress until a whole generation of people have been taught the foolishness of war. Hopefully we can even teach the current generations to be understanding.
Humanity, and the world, must change. My greatest hope, my life’s goal is true world peace. This is not due to any selfish or misguided reasons, it is not a consequence merely of being exposed to these ideas or having them been glorified. This is not the misguided conclusion as a result of a traumatic experience, or a hasty decision made for some naïve reason.
My greatest hope is that everyone will live together happily, of their own will. I want to make this happen.
People have different ideas, so when people interact with each other there will naturally be times when their ideas are not the same as the people they are interacting with.
If these ideas do not affect other people then generally this should not cause issues. When irrelevant ideas are the cause of issues, these issues are likely unjustified.
If the ideas instead are relevant to other people, then there is an issue that the parties need to resolve. There are various ways to resolve issues, which can be categorized into levels of escalation.
The first level is the most logical, reasonable, and effective method for resolution. This method is discussion, in which the parties explain why they have the ideas and beliefs they have and attempt to justify them. This method can often be long, tedious, and difficult, but is most always worth it. Most people are able to understand each other if explained to in the way they think. A reasonable person will doubt their beliefs if they are presented with counter evidence. This is the purpose of discussions, not to prove that you are correct, but to determine what is correct. Discussions therefore are not competitions and cannot be won, they do not use strategies to win, trick, confuse, or mislead others. Discussions should never use fallacies, as this leads people away from the truth instead of towards it. The purpose of a discussion is for all parties to explain their own reasoning to see if they were misinformed or made a mistake, and if so to then correct it to determine what is true.
Often people think that because it is difficult to explain something to someone else that it is impossible. The only way that I can see for it to be possible for someone to understand something is if they refuse any new ideas, or are cognitively or mentally incapable of understanding. If someone has the faculties and reasoning required to know something, then the person explaining must try their best to explain it in a way the person listening can understand, and the listener must try their best to understand the person explaining it.
Another issue is when a person A believes themselves to be correct while another person B disagrees, they might think that the other person is close minded for disagreeing, even if they disagree despite being shown evidence. In this situation there are two possibilities:
1. Person A is close minded for not doubting their idea as being possibly incorrect, and judges person B as being close minded for not accepting a supposedly correct idea.
Person B might in fact be close minded in this case, but person A has not correctly determined this and instead assumed it.
2. Person A is impatient or rushes to judgement by assuming that person B refuses to or is incapable of understanding their reasoning.
Alternatively, person A might correctly determine through rigourous testing that person B is incapable or processing or understanding the information.
At the same time, two parties in a discussion can be both person A and person B at the same time if they both think these things about the other.
Both parties in a discussion should be able to explain their points of view and question the other’s points of view and provide counter arguments without being labelled as close minded. However this also requires that both parties doubt their own arguments are open to the other’s explanations and ideas, and to themselves being wrong.
A second method of discussion could use external experiences, information, or activities to indirectly explain an idea to someone. When the party agrees to do this, it is a justified way of indirectly discussion and resolving issues.
When people are not open minded or do not discuss for whatever reason, the alternatives are to avoid resolution or force their opinion on the other party.
Forcing one’s opinion on someone else generally is done by forcing the other person to see, experience, or do something which will prove their point. This is a viable method if the person will not understand otherwise, however this must only be done if the party is certain that no other alternative is preferable and that leaving the issue unresolved is worse. The reason this alternative should be avoided is because without certainty that the person needs to be forced to learn something, this method could arrogantly assume that their idea is correct, and certainly infringes on the rights of the party being forced by limiting their freedom for something they do not want.
When you force others to learn something that you believe they should know, or worse, to believe what you believe, you are denying them and disrespecting their freedom, and forcefully making them comply with what you believe. If you’re not certain that what you believe is correct, and that the person will for sure be better off by being forced to learn or believe this, then you are being arrogant and disrespectful.
This same logic applies to an even worse form of resolution, when someone physically forces someone else to comply, learn, or believe something. While physical force may sometimes be necessary, as before it should only be done either when you are sure the person will benefit from it, or when it will have a better outcome for a group of people. This relates to a person being dangerous, perhaps out of a lack of information or having a different moral code than yours, or not having one at all. If such a person cannot be reasoned with, then for the safety of others and for their own sake, it might be necessary to force them to reconsider what they are doing, especially if there is a risk for others or themselves by not doing so. As before, certainty is needed before doing this, or risk assessment if certainty is not possible or viable.
Fighting and Unresolved Problems
When two people who disagree do not attempt to resolve the disagreement, they might instead try to suppress the other, allowing their own view or idea to be the only option and remain unchallenged. Fighting does not resolve issues, at least not entirely. While fighting may resolve a practical issue such as stopping someone from hurting people, it does not resolve the root cause of the problem. That person would still believe that he should hurt people even if you prevent him from doing so until he can be reasoned with or realises he is wrong. The cause of the problem, the disagreement between the two parties is not resolved by fighting.
Fighting merely suppresses the problem from being seen, and creates a new problem: the two parties are now a threat to each other. Instead of resolving the root problem, fighting creates a new problem for the parties to focus on: there is now a fight that has to be won. When one party starts to fight to suppress the other party’s ideas, it forces the other party to fight back or be suppressed. Suppression or force cause a new problem, fighting, which by it’s nature solves itself and diverts attention away from the original problem. In this way, fighting is something of a straw man self fulfilling argument. This is why fighting is irrational, it’s simply a way to forget about the original problem by creating a new problem which will solve itself.
There are however certain discussions that cannot, at least with our current knowledge, be resolved. In these cases, the parties may fight not to avoid the problem or force their ideas on the other party, but because they see no other viable option. An example is when an animal tries to kill another animal to eat. While both parties want to survive, one party’s survival depends on the other to not survive, and there is no known resolution to this problem as one side will always lose. These are perhaps the worst kinds of problems, but simply because a resolution is not known does not mean that it does not exist, everyone should strive to solve all the problems we have, for their own and for other’s sakes, in order to build a self sustaining future with as few problems as possible
Fighting is when two parties disagree on something and attempt to force the other to change or submit to what they believe. Obviously many people will disagree on many things, but fighting should be avoided when discussion is possible. People however tend to assume that discussion is not possible, and so they go for the easier option of fighting each other, either with words or physically. The fact is though, that discussion is in almost every case not only possible but a better option. Discussion might be harder, take longer, and require a lot of thought, but it is the most logical solution to a conflict. Fighting is illogical because it forces the other person to submit to your way of thinking, which is arogant and close minded.
When you decde to fight instead of trying to discuss something with someone, you are first of all disregarding the fact that that person, in your opinion, is mistaken in their beliefs. If you are correct, then the correct course of action would be to explain to them why they are mistaken so that they can benefit from that knowledge. The premise of this though should not be that you think that they are objectively wrong while you are objectively right, but that either one of you may be wrong. In this way, discussion is helpful to everyone because it’s not a lecture to tell other people that they are wrong, it’s a two way conversation to determine who is correct, not for the sake of winning, but to educate. Therefore when you discuss something with someone, you should not be focused on who is correct but instead what is correct.
When you do not do this, and instead choose to fight, you are being selfish or misguided. If however you are fighting with someone who will not listen to your arguments, then fighting might be the only option left and then you might be justified in fighting, if you have reasons to do so after thoroughly verifying them. Fighting might also be needed if time is limited, but again you should verify your own arguments as thouroughly as possible.
Another option is to choose not to fight or discuss, but instead ignore the issue. Some people refer to this as “being the greater man”, however this is simply avoidance, and is similarly as bad as fighting. For the same reasons I stated above to discuss things with people, discussion is a better option than avoidance. Sometimes avoidance is better than fighting because it will result in fewer casualties, but this must be weighed carefully. Appeasement has shown to not always be a good policy, since the person being appeased might take that for granted and just tsak more. Avoidance is also arrogant if you indeed think that you are better than the other person because you are avoiding “pointless” conflict. The point of dicussing, and sometimes justified fighting, is a just resolution to the conflict, even if it is just a disagreement between two friends. The point is to explain each person’s points of view to find out if either person is incorrect, and then to resolve the issue. Avoiding the problem does not resolve or fix it, it just leaves it there causing more problems.
When a person will not listen to others, or won’t accept that they might be wrong, or simply wants to fight for twisted reasons, then it is justified to fight back since it is the only choice available to you that will not result in a worse outcome. Wars and revolutions in such cases might be justified, but all peaceful options must be attempted first unless doing so would lead to an irreversible worse outcome, for example if attempting to hold peacetalks would waste time and allow the enemy to grow stronger to the point where they will have enough power to defeast you and not care about resolution.
Such a situation where someone starts a fight without consideration of the other person or of others in general is selfish, close minded, self deceptive and twisted. When a country wants to start a war to spread their rule or expand their empire, or simply conquer or take other’s resources without any consideration of the lives or their soldiers or the people they are conquering, they are being selfish and inconsiderate. This is a form of self deception that disregards others because it is easier for the to do so than to actually listen to their consciences.
Wars and fighting in general are therefore sometimes neccessary, but more often than not uneccessary and avoidable since they are a worse option that hurt a lot of people. Avoiding conflict and avoiding dicussions is also a bad thing because it can be arrogant and avoids the problem which can make it worse. If you are going to fight, then you you should make sure, as much as possible, that the fight is justified, and you should always try to end the fight as soon as possible with as few casualties as possible and making sure that you follow your morality as much as possible. Dicussing things reasonably with others requires open mindedness and logic, and even though it is often hard to do it is almost always worth it.