Friday, January 16, 2009

81 - Close-mindedness

My friend, Sarah, and I are at the Hong Kong Central Library and as she's currently leafing through books on the Cold War, I'm taking this opportunity to write today's post while she works.

Sarah seems a little paranoid and thinks I might be writing about her. She's asked me whether or not I'm writing about her cold sores or her boots or perhaps the way she searches for books. To be honest, I do take issue with the strolling around the library searching for the book because that's what the Dewey decimal system and the library catalogs are for. I mean, right now, I could just as easily write about her swinging her arms as she walks, the way she tiptoes to reach books on higher shelves or perhaps the way she crouches or squats to reach books on low ones. Personally, I do those things too, but much more quickly... when nobody is around... because I'm weird like that.

But anyway. Nah. I won't write about her, but she does serve as inspiration for today's idea.

One thing I've always admired about her is the fact that she always has an opinion on everything, i.e., she's never at a loss for words. Like me, she gets how it is to have a versatile taste in different areas of life and you can always count on her to speak up about something or be open-minded enough to listen to you.

There are many people I know that lack this quality. They're narrow-minded and too comfortable with being just comfortable all the freakin' time. They're happy to be another sheep in the herd and find the black sheep (me) very unsettling. A guy like me can obviously communicate with them, and can understand their points of view, but when it's the other way around, I can't tell them anything because they either wouldn't know what to say or wouldn't want to say anything. They don't care that they're ignorant, and they don't hate the fact that they are small in this world. They don't want to know or have more because what they know and have now is decent enough and they'll turn their backs on any opportunities they might have to learn something new.

I have grown from being the baby born in Hong Kong to the teenager that just loves to expose himself to more and more. I want to travel the world in the future, be a forensic anthropologist, a doctor, a Hollywood writer... I give every television show and movie a chance just for the chance to learn something new. I'll try any food, I'll read any book, magazine, comic or blog. I blog because it's a great way to meet people.
I don't dislike any of my subjects at school, say it's boring or "stupid", just because it's new, just because it's difficult.

I don't give up and
I like learning at school, and in life, and I think that close-minded people are missing quite a lot by being content with their experiences and knowledge that they have already. People who lack flexibility in their breadth of view and rigidly adhere to their own life need to give the wider world a shot.

This doesn't just apply to my friends and me and my little life in Hong Kong.

On a far greater scale, close-mindedness, lack of tolerance, and unwillingness to take in other ideas is the major instigation of war and political upheaval nowadays. I'm no expert, but take the Cold War as an example: communists and capitalists, both unreceptive to each other's different approach to dealing with the economy, cause a death toll that's still being counted now (does anyone have an estimation?).

Library closing, have to end here. Close-mindedness, do you hate it too?


shanne said...

oh yes, i hate it, too!
every single morpheme up there is factual. i do agree to the highest level. i get to deal with close-minded people, believe me, it's beyond annoying!

your post is inspirational. i like it!

keep safe:)

Prash said...

First of all, HELLO Sarah ! ;-) LOL

Secondly, you really think you are "learning" at school ? lol...

Thank God, I didn't get my education at school

Well, I prefer talking to people who have opinions and who are willing to have a conversation...of course, talking nonsense is what I hate (like everybodyelse)...

I have a colleague. She says something because something has to be said...

We were on our way to Macao on an official trip and during that 1 hr ferry, you can't talk the whole trip. Of course there was a time when there was a silence (I wanted a little break and close my eyes)...she just said "Beijing is beautiful in Spring. Very soon it is Spring". I laughed out loud because, it was summer and you have autumn and winter in between Spring...she just said it because she was lost in her mind and said some nonsense ...

aimée said...

i've always thought everyone had a say because growing up everyone i surrounded myself with did, and it wasn't until recently when a random guy i got into a huge arguement with at a party did it really occur to me that some people are quite closeminded and go with whatever flow is. i think he had smoked too much weed but we got into this huge debate about religion, and how it's the foundation for war and blah blah blah, in which the whole room was just sitting there listening, awkward yes. we argued on and on in spite of each other, with me thinking this is never going to end, (keep in mind it was 4am in the morning), until he said out of nowhere, "wow. i like you. because girls never seem to have opinions much, and even if they do they don't say anything about it". i told him that point was unvalid to judge one gender like that.

but anyway that did make me think and i realised guys and girls, all lack opinion about certain things at times. but i also realised, couldn't that might just be interest? some just happen to be more interested in intellectual subjects compared to creative subjects to totally stupid subjects. i could have a say about anything in the media, yet i would gulp if i had to sit through a debate on oil paintings of the 1500s century and if it has really affected paitings later on (actually that sounds quite interesting, but beside the point) i might not care completely about crap like that.

plus not everyone wants to surround themselves with topics of war and political upheaval, because there's too much in the media already, people prefer not to talk about it. especially if someone has just spent all their life trying to escape it. i know your saying people shouldn't be so closeminded and dable in everything, not be so ignorant -in which i wholeheartedly agree. (see this is where i like arguing against a point, even if i don't believe it it, which is annoying on my behalf) but anyway, if something does truly escape a person's interest then can't they just be different, not closeminded?

actually, i sometimes think, that some people with an argument for something is closeminded, because i believe their argument to be wrong and ignorant, i.e george bush has protected america and was the greatest president their was, he went to war to proctect the people.

i had an argument with a friend about george w bush and obama and he deleted me on facebook calling me evil and a communist as to even like someone such as obama. WTF? see, some people with opinions are frankly, ignorant too. just look at hitler, he had an opinion, a strong one, he was smart, but look what he did.

i know i'm rambling on like a blog post but this has sort of started a brain wave. sometimes, "close-mindedness" doesn't go with "lack of tolerance, and unwillingness to take in other ideas is the major instigation of war and political upheaval"

that probs didn't make sense to you, it did to me so mehhh. haha.

aimée said...

oops i made a couple of mistakes with theres and theirs. hope you don't mind. because i find that annoying.

Madame DeFarge said...

It's tiring having an opinion on everything and many people have rather more things to worry about that pronouncing on the state of the universe. So, I rarely bother about small-mindedness, because to do so is itself inherently small-minded. Why is my opinion more valuable than someone else's? Why is their 'inflexibility' somehow less valuable than my posturing?

I like people with opinions, but I don't become annoyed by those who don't have the luxury of having them.

Chris O said...

I always try to find the "nice" in everyone, to be tolerant, to be open to other opinions. That everyone is different is what keeps things from being boring.

It's unfortunate that some can't see beyond their little world and judge others out of ignorance instead of embracing those qualities that make everyone unique.

We are very diverse in our family and we love it.

Signed: a white chick, formerly married to a jewish man, now married to an asian/american, with a half asian daughter, a gay son, an atheist daughter and a son-in-law who is part hispanic.

KMcJoseph said...

I feel the same way when people feel the constant need to "define" themselves.

"I HATE this type of food."
"I would NEVER listen to this type of music"
"I ONLY watch these kinds of movies"

They don't realize that they are setting up boundaries for themselves.

Michael said...

Shanne: Close-minded people used to stress me out so much... Learning how not to make it your own problem is the key. Glad you liked it.

Prash: I learn academically, yes, and I learn about different people in my international school as well. And trust me, I've known people to talk non-stop on that one-hour ferry trip...

Aimée: That made a lot of sense to me. I know people have the right to be close-minded. If something doesn't interest them, why should they bother pretending to be interested? What I hate is when they are close-minded all the time, and close themselves off from any opportunities to perhaps become more interesting or knowledgeable and say things like KMcJoseph exampled in a later comment. These people are usually very hard to be with, unsociable, boring and... limited, you can't learn from them, find interest in them. Did I make sense?

Madame DeFarge: Understandable. I suppose it's our personalities and personal preferences when it comes to conversational style.

Chris O: Unfortunate, indeed, and it's great to hear about your diverse family.

KMcJoseph: Very true and just the examples I was missing from this post. So, so true and they're just the thing I hate...

Ursley Devar said...

oh... hahaha!
yeah of course...

no offend... in malaysia some people really-really-really closed-minded!!

I have to face them everyday... furthermore, my belief is not like others here... I'm religion-free, but sometime i practice Abrahamic... I go to both Church and Mosque... then, they feel that it is weird (or maybe wrong) and try to stop me! oh...

But others some of them are really good!

Michael said...

Ursley Devar: Interesting. Religion puts you in a corner as well, doesn't it?

Well, as long as you do impose your religion on to others and respect other people's faiths, that's alright, I suppose.

gaf85 said...

It requires a certain amount of self confidence to express an opinion. People who are close minded lack enlightenment. I don't always agree with what other people might express but they do have a right to their feelings as we all do.
For me,if I am asked my opinion I will fearlessly state it and if people don't agree that is okay. That is what communication of ideas is really about.

Michael said...

gaf85: Yes, they lack enlightenment, confidence and perhaps a little EQ.