The Open and Closed Mind

This book is ‘An investigation into the nature of belief systems and personality systems’ by Milton Rokeach. He offers a comparison of open- vs. closed- minded belief systems :

Characteristics of an Open-Minded Belief System:

  • Do not strongly reject disbeliefs
  • Do not sharply divide belief and disbelief systems
  • Do not lump together varieties of disbelief systems
  • Are more likely to view the world as a generally friendly place
  • Do not structure their world around the views of a particular authority figure
  • Operate from a relatively non-restrictive sense of time and space

Characteristics of a Close-Minded Belief System:

  • Strong rejection of alternative beliefs (=“disbeliefs”)
  • Draw a sharp line between beliefs and disbeliefs (and expect others to do likewise)
  • Tend to lump together all varieties of disbeliefs into one rejected category
  • Feel the need to fight to protect their space; time sense permeated by anxiety
  • Tend to view the world as a hostile place
  • Often structure beliefs around the views of a highly trusted authority figure

I tend to think that these categorizations are a little unsympathetic, although they do offer an insight into the mentality of cults. Relabelling the categories, you could call the systems ‘Clear- vs. Woolly- Minded’.

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