But if everyone had locked their brain into "flat-earth" mode, and refused to consider the evidence that the world was not flat, we might have been stuck in the flat-earth paradigm for a lot longer. And that would have been bad because, when we adopt more accurate beliefs and theories about the way the world works, we generally gain advances in a host of fields that make human life longer, more enjoyable, and more productive. The theories we embrace today as the most accurate depictions of the way things work are undoubtedly not perfect. Making them better requires an open-minded approach to the experience of life.
A few days ago, I recommended that people reading this blog go see a movie. I was shocked at the number of people who responded with "Nope, never going to another movie with that actor in it again.," or "Nope, I'm boycotting Hollywood." I was shocked at the number of people who are living in America in 2018 with a mind that is absolutely locked against people who don't think and speak and act exactly the same way they do. That is not the spirit of America. The First Amendment gives us all the right to free speech. The whole point of freedom of speech is that we have to be willing to listen to each other. You don't have to agree with people who say things you don't like, but if you absolutely lock your mind and heart against them because of something they said yesterday or last week or last year, then we might as well not have a First Amendment. We might as well just make a list of what's acceptable to think or say, and get on with it. That is certainly NOT the spirit of America or the spirit of our Constitution, but it does seem to be the mind set of an awful lot of people living in America today.
I encourage all of you to step outside of your philosophical comfort zone. Open your mind and listen--really listen--to what people who are not like you are saying. Try to understand it. You may not be able to accept it. You may find it is inconsistent with the principles of reason we talk about frequently in this blog. That is all fine, as long as we all keep listening to each other, and challenging our individual prejudices and perceptions. I guarantee some of those prejudices and perceptions are wrong--for all of us. What a shame it would be to live in a land with as much freedom as we have, and to remain locked in a mental prison of our own creation because we are too lazy or too afraid to challenge our personal beliefs.