On Being Objective

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A subjective ramble
In my travels around the blogosphere this morning, I ran into a comment by "bob" about objective thinking. He states that "it is absolutely imperative that today’s children be exposed to as many different ideas as possible so they can again- learn how to be objective members of society," among other things.

"bob" is not alone in this thinking.

And, honestly, who of us would say, "Oh, please, may my children be subjective in their thinking so as to avoid all objective thought!"?

I see that hand.

Ignoring the person waving their hand in the third row, none of us want our thoughts to be purely subjective. We want to be based in reality, in truth, in how things really are. But can we get to pure objective thought merely by bombarding ourselves with every idea that is out there? Is mere exposure going to get us anywhere?


I once talked with a guy who said he was very interested in religion now that he had taken a religious studies course at his college.

"Oh?" I asked. "What'd you like about it?"

"It was amazing to see how all religions are exactly the same," he replied. "Every religion teaches basically the same thing and there aren't any real differences between them. Isn't that incredible?"

Incredible may have been exactly the word to use. I tried to get more out of him, but he had been exposed to an "objective" position from a professor who had been exposed to the sun too long, or had spent so much time exposed to all the religious ideas in the world he could only look at them at a primitive surface level.

Just like we must not cling to the Bible as the only source of information in the world, we must not throw ourselves into the universe and scream: Teach me!

I don't think we can ever be free from our prejudices/presuppositions. But if we admit our bias to ourselves and then consider the other side, I think we have the highest chance of arriving at an understanding of reality.

Which brings me back to two quotes my dad shared with me back in the day:

The problem with an open mind is that all your brains fall out.

The purpose of an open mind is to close it again on something solid.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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