I am truly interested in what others have to say in so far as it can inform my own thinking and add dimensions I had not previously considered. Even if I disagree, my impulse will always be to drive the debate forward. To reach further, to learn more. I believe I’m open to most beliefs.
I draw the line, though, when people are persistently contrary. People whose default response is to disagree purely, it seems, on the basis that I hold any opinion at all. They discount my point of view simply because I don’t agree with everything they say in its entirety. It’s a kind of bigotry from which, in the end, I have to walk away from. Hit your head against a brick wall as much as you like but it won’t be the wall that breaks.
It beats me why they do it. It’s pointless to constantly be in the company of people who agree with everything that’s said. Of course, it’s gratifying and inevitably bolsters the ego but too much will always lead to the most horrible constipation. As well as acute self-righteousness which is a very heavy door to shove open again to let in the clear air of free thinking in which ideas thrive.
I have copied the following because Ian McEwan puts it so much better than I:
“When you make the self the outer limit of your politics, you then begin to ignore a great deal of the attitudes, situations, dilemmas, misery of others . . . in today’s highly combustible culture, the mutual response at the heart of co-respondence has been replaced by a kind of mutual reactivity, a co-reaction — we fling intransigent opinions at one another, all the while continually contracting our humanity and calcifying ourselves in order to shield against the hard-edged opinions of others. We are increasingly averse to engaging in the uncomfortable luxury of changing our minds, which is, of course, the primary practice of personal change and growth. The radiant self-revision of becoming, that most beautiful and hope-giving feature of the human experience, has given way to a stubborn self-righteousness of being.”
Ian McEwan: Nutshell 2016