Defining oneself as open-minded, one is already creating a hierarchy of values
By Kathy Koupai
February 28, 2002
Open-minded really means like-minded. This is something that becomes clear after
one has adjusted to and survived within varying cultures with different value systems.
If you ask anyone about their own values, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that
defines herself or himself as closed-minded. That is to say, we all like to think
Even in fascist and repressive cultures, if you asked them, they probably wouldn't
say they were closed-minded. They'd say they were enlightened or living life by the
correct, true or virtuous rules.
Self-proclaimed liberals would change the lingo, but essentially the argument is
about values. Whose values are more important? Whose values are higher up on the
scale? Whose values are right?
Moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco has been a sort of wake-up call to the whole
concept of open-mindedness.
There's nothing really open-minded about being open-minded. Because in defining oneself
as open-minded, one is already creating a hierarchy of values: There are the "closed-minded
people" and then there's "us -- the open-minded".
But the seeming community that is us is really no one. Because an open-minded community
wouldn't be exclusive and hierarchical, would it? An open-minded community wouldn't
tout itself as superior to another. In this sense, the whole concept of open-mindedness
is defunct and lame.
The idea of open-mindedness should really be subsumed by an idea of survival. Could
you get by in the enemy camp?
Would you be open enough to try walking in the others' shoes for more than a minute?
Or, how difficult would it be to make a judgment after having the experience, instead
of frothing nonsense at the mouth in a knee jerk reaction?
Something like that would be truly impressive, and not open-minded at all.