Tuesday, 30 January 2007

How to Talk to a Closed-Minded Person: Introduction

Have a hard time dealing with those narrow-minded people in your life? Whether they be your in-laws, the store cashier, or your coworkers, this guide may be able to help…

Consider this the Introduction to How to Talk to a Closed-Minded Person (If You Must), a new blog post series — which will hopefully end up looking like a serialized book — written entirely by me. This will be a societal guidebook, mixed with to political and personal references, to dealing with and understanding the minds of the narrow, and of the wide. How someone chooses to gather and accept information — whether it be facts or opinion — tells you who they are on multiple scales. In all simplicity this is a psychological, societal, political, and personal guide. When this is all finished, I will make this series into an ebook available as a PDF download for In Perspective readers.

Throughout this guide I’ll often refer to the closed-minded person as “the person you are talking to” or just “the closed-minded” or “the narrow-minded”. You know who they are.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “narrow-minded” as

not willing to listen to or tolerate other people's views; prejudiced.

American Heritage says “closed-minded” or “close-minded” is the
Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas.

The terminology is similar to “narrow minded”:
lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view.

Thus, ‘narrow-‘ and ‘closed-minded’ are, for all practical purposes, synonymous and are used interchangeably in this guide.

Anyone familiar with the works of Ann Coulter knows my title is styled after her book How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) (complete bullocks, by the way). Just going by her distorted definition of the word "liberal", you know that woman is either insane or a good actor — call her whatever you want. I do not hope for this guide to resort to that hitting-below-the-knees, nonsensical, partisan mudslinging, disgusting extreme ideological polarization that people like Coulter stoop to.

This series will have a relaxed and informal, sometimes humorous outlook. I hope for some of it to sound laid back, so the layperson can relate to it.

How to Talk to a Narrow-Minded Pompous Ass (If You Must) was originally going to be the title of this multi-part blog post series, but I decided to shorten and mellow down the title a bit. The series is to come in chapters; the final product might be in chapters too.

Just as a note: this is not an attack on Christianity or other religions. People have a right to hold their own beliefs; I respect that right, even if I don’t respect the beliefs. But there are parts of the Bible praising the narrow-minded:
... narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
--Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:14


I wrote this guide partly for fun, and partly because of people, lunatics in fact, like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, but also so called firebrand lefties in the United States who also refuse to employ the tactic of logic and utilize a closed-mindedness of considerable proportions. I find it amazing how these kinds of people have millions of readers, listeners, and followers. They are treated like gods by some, and the devil by others. Their partisanship only furthers the polarized divide in the mind numbingly closed-minded realms of American politics and ideology.

~clearthought
http://cafzal.blogspot.com/

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

so... you admit that you are not wiiling to listen to anything that someone who seems to have a different political view than you... liberals are close-minded.
Notice I did not say democrats. I said liberals.

publius

clearthought said...

I admitted no such thing. I have read your comments "publis", and although I disagree with them I did not delete them or attack you for making them. I said that there are both people on the left and right who are closed-minded... right in this post! If you are to make allegations, please at least cite, because what you are alleging is blatantly false and contradicts my set precedence on these issues.

Thanks for commenting; I enjoy all different views and I am open to all!

clearthought said...

Also, see my reply to your other comment:

http://cafzal.blogspot.com/2006/12/name-is-name-label-label-iraq-is-in.html

liberal intelligentsia said...

But there are parts of the Bible praising the narrow-minded: ... narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
--Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:14


Was the Rev. Alec Baldwin preaching at the local humanist congregation last week? How did you get "the Bible praises narrow-mindedness" from that? It's simply an observation that it's easier to follow the world's value system than that of God (i.e. the path of least resistance). Try reading Psalms 1 for a more complete perspective on this dichotomy.

Ron Davison said...

Closed-minded? I always thought it was clothes-minded, a reference to people who were obsessed with shopping. It all makes sense now. :)

Seriously, such a series would be hugely valuable. Have you looked at Gardner's book Changing Minds? You'd probably enjoy it.

clearthought said...

"liberal intelligentsia", although obviously not all followers of Christianity are narrow-minded, the truth is many organized religions preach their doctrine and expect you — require you — to follow and listen to their and only their views and preachings. My intrepretation of that quote is not just that the Bible suggests a narrow outlook; there are many ways to look at quotes like that of Matthew 7:14. In fact, as I was researching for this post I found some fundamentalist Christian websites which use quotes like that one to admit their narrow-mindedness.

Ron, I will have to check out that book. Thanks for the tip!

bitswapper said...

publis writes:so... you admit that you are not wiiling to listen to anything that someone who seems to have a different political view than you... liberals are close-minded.
Notice I did not say democrats. I said liberals.

publius


Attributing a trait like close-mindedness to a category of people reduces you own ability to see an individual clearly enough to deal with them effectively.

A pebble will hide a mountain, if held close to the eye.

Anonymous said...

liberal intelligentsia said...

But there are parts of the Bible praising the narrow-minded: ... narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
--Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:14

Was the Rev. Alec Baldwin preaching at the local humanist congregation last week? How did you get "the Bible praises narrow-mindedness" from that? It's simply an observation that it's easier to follow the world's value system than that of God (i.e. the path of least resistance). Try reading Psalms 1 for a more complete perspective on this dichotomy.
---------------------------------

lol...
"narrow is the way..." or "narrow minded are those who..."

I think I have to agree with "liberal intelligentsia" on this one.
Please try not to "quote" a book considered Holy by some just to prove your point. Especially if you misquote it people might find that very frustrating.

Hope I helped
=)

tommcgtx said...

Yeah, be open-minded, like "The debate is over" on Global Warming!