Open Minds – Closed Mouths
Struggling to maintain the beliefs one holds dear in the face of damning empirical evidence, which proves without a doubt that those beliefs are false, is the definition of closed mindedness. It’s no secret that I’m not a religious person, and the main reason I’m not is, I can’t reconcile religious behavior with rationality. What is religious behavior? Look at the example of cult members who believe with all their heart that their leader is a prophet and as such is beyond reproach. The prophet makes a prediction about the end of the world and choses a date. The date comes and goes without so much as a worldwide hiccup. Rather than leave the cult and admit that they were wrong, the tendency of the cult members is to not only justify the inconsistency but increase cult membership and rally behind the false prophet. The justification is usually found in the nature of the cult’s deity of choice. “God didn’t want it to end now, so he told our leader a new date.”
How can this behavior be possible? We are all rational at some level, aren’t we? We all have a mind equipped to recognize patterns, do we not? Human beings attempt to recognize patterns in everything, even where there are no patterns to be found. The problem is, patterns are only recognizable with sufficient data. That is to say, one cannot recognize a pattern unless he has a sufficient distance between himself and the data used to glean the pattern. Members of the cult don’t see the pattern of deception and justification due to their proximity to the data. They have no perspective on the deception. Those of us outside the cult scoff at the cult members’ irrationality.
This irrational behavior is not unique to cults. Everyone reading this post is guilty of the same behavior (including the writer). We all have (or have had) our pet beliefs to which, even after having been proven wrong, we cling. It’s simply easier to maintain our illusions than rebuild from a new paradigm. When in conversation with a person about to rail against truth, this becomes obvious. Their closely held belief is challenged, and immediately the defenses go up, and it becomes difficult to speak. It’s tantamount to a child plugging his ears and screaming “LA LA LA, NOT LISTENING!” If you chuckle, you know this to be true.
I firmly believe that we are all aware of this type behavior, and even when we exercise it, we know at some deep level, we should not. There is a problem that all minds have, that we are all aware exists. The problem with contradictory ideals. They cannot coexist in most minds without causing some upheaval and good old cognitive dissonance. Our minds are, at once, our greatest assets and greatest liabilities.
We’ve all heard the old proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Why does it persist? Because it’s true. How many people who are members of this site came here because of the need to understand the nature of the world’s systems? You’re here because you’ve never heard anyone else talking this way about these things. Sadly, those who leave the site do so because they can’t eliminate thoughts which they know to be counter to the ideas they hear on it. Those who still believe they have rights, or still think the bond route is a good idea, for instance, will leave this site. They found the teacher too early.
While we understand, we feel for these people. The ones who come for a month and decide they know more than we do, or that we’re imbeciles because we think the constitution doesn’t apply to citizens (despite the fact that they can’t disprove out standpoint) are exactly the sort I’m talking about. Their minds remain closed to any idea they haven’t already decided is the truth. Their mouths are open so often and so loudly, they can’t hear the voice of reason imploring them to just read what we’re saying.
I challenge everyone here to not only read/watch/listen to everything but to make every effort to prove it wrong by finding your own documents. Without this effort, it’s difficult to respect the nay-sayers. I’m challenging you all to open your minds and close your mouths until you truly understand your arguments. I’m challenging you all to stop making excuses for time and money and just get it done. By doing this, you not only better yourselves, you better the group and prove you are a free thinking person, not a cult member. Ask questions, by all means, but offer opinions only when you truly understand what you’re offering.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
— Mark Twain