Doesn’t it seem like it’s the easiest thing in the world to have?
Everybody thinks they have one … even the most stubborn, close-minded creeps. How they can possibly think that, I don’t know. And here’s the thing … everybody can see it lacking in someone else, but they cannot – or will not – see it in themselves.
I got inspired to write this following an encounter I had the other day. I was chatting with this person who asked me something about art. This happens from time to time with people who know I’m really into contemporary art. Fine. By the way, I’m always polite and very brief when talking to acquaintances about art. I don’t want to cram my personal interests down other people’s throats. There’s nothing worse than the guy or gal who corners you and wants to talk about rock formations or basket weaving for the next half-hour.
Anyway, as I began answering the question, I could see literally this person’s mind beginning to close … even though I was being brief. Wanna know how you can tell that someone is close-minded? Watch their eyes. It’s in the eyes. As an art person, I can tell you that everything is in the eyes. You can see the lack of enthusiasm, lack of comprehension and everything else draining from their eyes which morph into deep pools of nothingness.
It’s not like I was talking like an art history professor. In fact, whenever I chat with people about art, I try to make it fun for them, especially when they ask me a question because I know there’s natural curiosity there.
You know, I could come up with a dozen reasons why more people aren’t “into” contemporary art. Yet after really thinking about this, I think the number one reason is lack of an open mind or shall I say, close mindedness?
Nothing and I mean nothing is possible unless you have an open mind about the issue at hand. I don’t care what it is. I think that an open mind plays a big role in faith and belief. Of course, faith is not about intellect or coming up with physical proof about the existence of anything. Faith is about believing in the unseen. That’s why it’s called, “Faith.” Yet I think that an open mind does help us to believe in things ... including ourselves.
There’s a sad stubbornness that comes with being close minded. The close minded person not only doesn’t believe or isn’t willing, but flat out refuses to consider anything outside of their own frame of reference.
Close minded people reject practically everything with great relish. Not only do they reject things completely, but they destroy and throw out everything even remotely associated with them. I have seen this scenario play out numerous times during my visits to art museums and galleries.
You can see close mindedness in rare form when people say things like, “My four year old can do that!” Or … “What’s THAT crap?” Or … “THAT’S supposed to be ART?”
It’s almost as if the person feels that what they’re seeing or experiencing is somehow a personal attack on them. You know what? I think that’s it. Close minded people somehow think things are about THEM and how they may have something to lose by merely considering something fresh and new.
That’s why I think there’s nothing better than an open mind. An open mind means possibilities … an open mind means solutions … an open mind means growth … an open mind means learning … an open mind means passion … an open mind means happiness … remember happiness? An open mind actually knows that with every passing moment comes the opportunity to turn it all around.
Now … having said that … I do think it’s possible to be TOO open minded. If we were 100% open minded every waking moment, we’d probably be eating dog poop off of the ground and jumping off bridges with safety harnesses. I mean, we DO have to be discriminating and actually use our brains. Having an open mind doesn’t mean we’re stupid or foolishly optimistic. It simply means that we’re open to considering something new without being cynical or selfishly prejudiced.
I absolutely LOVE meeting new people, seeing new art and experiencing great, new things. I recall watching a TV show once in which one of the characters said …
“It’s not variety that’s the spice of life. It’s the variety of US!”
With that, I add that the “variety of us” isn’t possible without an open mind. And yes, while an open mind is indeed a state of mind, it's really about deciding on a daily basis to cautiously explore rather than be selfish, stubborn and prejudiced about everything you see. Having an open mind is about getting a life. Open mind, happy life.
I think that a lot of people associate an “open mind” with drug and sex abuse, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. That connection alone is the hallmark of someone who is hopelessly close minded. They’re using their own “morality” to justify their lack of … whatever.
You know what? Speaking of sex … if the parents of close minded people hadn’t opened their minds - among other things - for just a few, passionate moments, they wouldn’t even BE HERE.
The next time you meet a stubbornly close minded chap or gal, tell them I said that.