a couple thoughts on who open-minded people are

I have a friend who I’ve tried to persuade, in vain, to go swing
dancing with me sometime. She kept refusing, which I found odd,
because she was perfectly happy going to Burning Man and doing all
sorts of indecent things there. She’s an open-minded girl, isn’t she?
But then, why was she saying no, and calling my hobby lame on top of
it?

I’ve seen open-minded atheists attack Christians as sheep incapable of
thinking for themselves. Feeble-minded, white trash, sheep. Why don’t
they extend a little more empathy and try to see where religious
people are coming from?

I saw a painting in a bookstore once titled, “Meat-eaters.” It showed
a gruesome face with shark-like teeth, done up in a dark and bloody
palette. I think eating meat is nice. My old college roommate even
went so far as to say it was a beautiful completion of the cycle of
life. That’s a viewpoint acutely sensitive to our role as predators in nature, so why
do some vegans think all meat-eaters are psychotic murders?

My confusion was misplaced. I conflated the concept of “open-minded”
with simply being secular, hipster, liberal, vegetarian, or
alternative.

Maybe you live in a co-op and you’re vegan, but if you refuse to
venture out of your comfort zone, or if you assume that your
opponents are simple-minded murderers, you’re not open-minded.
Open-minded people can go against their own emotional grain and be
willing to try things even if they don’t like them (or not even have
any prejudices in the first place), or entertain a foreign and
possibly abhorrent idea without having to simplify it down into a
caricature. Doing what you like to do and going with the natural flow
of your personality is good, and if it takes you to a hippie commune,
so much the better, but don’t confuse your natural tendency to define
yourself by rebelling against mainstream culture with being
open-minded.