The Virtue of an Open Mind (Gapped)

Growing up in Berkeley in the 60s & 70s, a with-it young dude could hardly point ______ a more laudable trait than open-mindedness. It was as if all the previous generation (hip oldsters excepted) and their occasional brainwashed offspring ______ to do was shrug off the square traditions and prejudices that were the ______ of all evil, and everything would be possible: utopia, the Garden regained, the age of Aquarius.

It’s hard to overstate the power of that open/closed-minded dichotomy, maybe the closest we came to a good vs. evil worldview. As a teen I lofted it ______, or back, a couple of generations for consideration. My Kentucky grandmother exclaimed “Your mind is so open, sometimes I worry it’s gonna fall right out!”

I ______ that as a compliment, as far as I could grasp its metaphorical logic, or, if you will, get my mind around it. I later put it to my step-grandfather on the other side in some context like how good or important it was to find, perhaps at the university, equally open-minded friends. This had probably come to me as a sort of obvious litmus test. Jo, a conservative Republican whose past had led him from a Polish palatial childhood to a professional life in the biology lab, replied that ______ he saw it the real friends one found were not open-minded, ______ close-minded in the same way as you.

That sounded wrong, very even, ______ the time, as I took it to mean a kind of ideological partner in crime, someone sharing the same messed-up prejudices. Reflecting now though, I wonder if he wasn’t onto something.

After all, who is the most open-minded ______ us? Babies, certainly. But knowledge and experience gradually encroach ______ that openness, and who would have it any other way?

Judgmentality gets a bad rap, while judgment is wisdom, just as we may seek to retain some child-like freshness without being childish. To what ______ does glorifying open-mindedness amount ______ exalting intellectual immaturity, a kind of ignorance is bliss bs? To regain the garden then, but knowing what’s what.

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