I Just Don’t Understand an Open Mind

I woke up this morning with only two thoughts in my brain. First, I must listen to Electric Feel by MGMT (am listening to it now). The second thought is that I just don’t understand an “open mind”.

Curiosity ensues…

I mean on one level, an open mind is simply being able to see. I found a writing about photography where the author explores what she natively sees. Most of the time she goes in search of something directly in her mind. When she finds the beautiful shot she then ignores the possible ugliness around. Often, though, a dramatic and sad experience will force us to see the ugliness or difference, sometimes even search for it. For most the native state is baised and requires a force to see.

On another level, our city planners long ago realized that citizens need to be broken out of their workday lives. But rather than force them to go for a walk in the park, they would build them into ideal locations and just watch it happen. For example, an “open campus” in Sapporo, Japan is so open that it not only serves as campus and park, but has grown to become a vital water source for the city. Examples such as this and even New York City’s Central Park, show that parks and public places have easily become an insitutional part of any city. Strangely enough this structural addition is very easily accepted, no force required. Just place a park next to an office building and people will want to break out of their office and walk in them. For all, the need for a change in environment is inherent, institutional, and no force need apply.

A while ago I was browsing through Agust Jackson’s blog and found a TED Talk video he liked on the difference between Liberals and Conservatives (embedded below, highly worth watching). In it, Jonathan Haidt talks about openness. How liberals are not really liberals at all, they are just a group of being with a higher value of openness. Those conservatives are really folks with a lower value (theortically replaced by tradition, “the way it is”). I generally agreed with the points he is making that that some people are just going to be more open to change than others. For those that are open, change is inevitable, for those that are not open, it is worth it to fight against it.

Finally, Jeff Nolan in his post on the value of being open and honest talks about corporate values being resistant to change. In a sense this can be extrapolated beyond a business culture in into our broader society. The innate culture of almost any country on earth is very resistant to change. For some change takes the form of revolution or coup. Others like the USA have found a peaceful way to enact change (elections, term limits). Either way it shows that stasis is the ideal state of a culture or corporation because it allows folks to understand, make rules, and easily traverse the waters. For society and corporations, change is natural but dangerous.

All of this research still leaves me not understanding what an “open mind” is. What it needs. How it functions. More importantly to me, how it will act. Arggh!

The need to understand is undying.

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