This essay is going to speak to one of my most personally sacred ideals, which posits that open-mindedness should be one’s default attitude – that lest you are provided empirical and tangible evidence to the contrary, you are obliged to consider that the strongest truth lies in the good, and deserves your trust.
In other words, all other things being equal, it is best and most upstanding to have an open mind. But – and the but is what the whole rest of this piece is about – but what if all other things are NOT equal? What if your world is upside down. Can you truly fathom an upstanding disposition in such, well, such a position? And if YOU are upside down in all the chaos and tribulation – picture this literally for a second, if you will – is it truly in your best interest to have an, um, “open” mind?
It is in fact my ever-present penchant for precisely this inside-out wordplay that brings birth to such imagery. And, it is with that imagery that I challenge myself and the reader to then suppose the applied and social implications of these hypotheticals in the world as *I* experience it – not in this visual, intuitive, improvisational and broad scope with which those who are so blessedly possessed (and that is the majority, the democratically most powerful of people) can discern the real from the figurative with effortless, even unknowing, ease – but in the NON-visual world where the natural scope is one of depth, where there is no forest because the only dimension available to those (okay, full disclosure: *we*) possessed of this executively impaired and definitively limiting (sometimes to levels that compel the neurotypical majority to misunderstand, and openly and sometimes even viciously dismiss) orientation is the temporal – the *linear* and the NOW – and these other spacial – that is VISUAL – dimensions to which most people preferably allude: length, width and height (that is, those of the “forest”), and by which they understand the world quite instinctively – are absolutely foreign and sometimes virtually unknowable to we so VERY dependant on the verbal – the virtual – the verdict – the verifiable and the very, where NOTHING unspoken is taken for granted, and all things ARE quite literally possible!
For it is when one is naturally inclined to assume that anything is possible, and thus, incidentally, he likewise necessarily rejects the rigidity and arrogance that is the cornerstone of prejudice, and in so doing, the drawing of premature and unsupported conclusions, that he leaves himself open to everything in this world both wonderful and perilous.
Now, of course I understand that the literal imagery, the analogy and wordplay are barely more than cute without presenting a little analysis – or maybe I should call it translation – and that this “picture” is something I am obliged to assume does not seamlessly transition to the more demanding and exponentially more accurate counterpart of the (verbal) metaphor. The interpretation I think is most apt is one that points to the vulnerabilities we all have, and recognizes that many of the defense mechanisms our species, our society, and yes, our individual selves have developed to cope are instinctive, and as such are as hard to break, control or master as the hair-trigger pulling away of a hand from a hot stove. The closed-mind, so to speak, is the instinctive mistrust of the unknown. And, again to offer just my translation of being upside down literally, represents the danger and confusion that any real threat poses and which compels our para-sympathetic nervous system to so engage that “fight or flight” response.
To have an “open” mind, just might be, in some instances, akin to fighting one’s natural protective instincts, which indeed exist in large part to protect our species, society or selves! To take the wordplay to the absurd level then – the potential hazard, indeed the consequences or loss to which we expose ourselves in the presence of our “dangerous” world and environment, is to be upside down (if the danger is real, of course) and so what’s open AND upside down “falls” out. We “lose our minds”! ;) Or we lose ourselves??
So, now I ask: what is the calculus? Where is the line drawn? Where is the point of no return? Is it boiled down to a not-so-simple but nonetheless inelegant cost/benefit analysis?
For surely, nobodies can argue the superiority of this impaired mindset even IF it predisposes the beholder to a natural openness, can they? Can we ever be comfortable with a logic that allows the plural “nobodies” to take the place of “nobody” simply to agree with “they”?
My Microsoft Word won’t allow it. I’m sure my English teachers would never have allowed it. And this little incidental is but a portion of a piece of writing – made larger only by this author’s meta-focus on it! Imagine living with the belief that ALL such rules of society (and physics, and safety!) are treated with similar doubt and, as yours truly is increasingly inclined, militant abandon!
Even as I am so fiercely defensive, honesty compels me to confess at least a pragmatic disadvantage, maybe – MAYBE! – even inferiority of such an “open-minded” point of view. This author can offer (and has offered, many times, for example: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1255405/false_arrest_extortion_ex_post_facto.html?cat=5) myriad evidence suggesting that prejudice is self-selecting, even Darwinian, and that the human species, maybe even the entire animal kingdom, reached or will reach a terminal limit in the evolution in THIS (genetic???!!!) slice of *every* animal’s genome(s) either chromosomal OR mitochondrial, and that closedmindedness will, to one degree or another, be forever hard-wired.
I belong to that school which hangs on to that romantic notion that we are something more than biological accidents whose chemical and physical and even behavioral responses and actions serve a higher purpose even, than survival.
In other words, it is as fundamental a part of me as my DNA to ceaselessly question, and to believe there is some answer to that question of “why” we are here, and that it is indeed ego-dystonic for THIS one specimen of humanity to accept or even understand “the way it is”. Seems to me there lies another answer – and beauty – to this world. But, to receive it – to accept the chaos of that damnably long learning curve, IS to accept being so vulnerable.
I…I just do not know. I guess I’m going to have to stay open to the answer if and when it comes.