Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A notable quote

Found this here:

But to be truly open-minded, we must attempt to understand even close-mindedness, and admire it for its small elements of beauty in addition to rejecting it for its failures.

Thanks Tobie, that's a heck of a quote.


Blogger Shoshana said...

I think that's my biggest challenge in striving to be open-minded. It's very hard to hold respect for those who aren't, but as the quote says, to be truly open-minded, we must.

January 26, 2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Indeed, it's very hard to admire those "small beauties." What do you think are those beauties?

January 26, 2006 11:06 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


My blog is called "Search for Emes", and so in seeking Truth I feel like I should be open-minded. However, this often times creates strong internal/external conflicts and a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. unhappiness in my life.

Although I can't ever imagine myself being close-minded, I assume that some of the beauties of such a disposition would be a simple, unquestioning existence, a focus on the more immediate joys of life, a certain surety of one's convictions.

I can only be myself and so I am doomed to keep an open mind, but in a small, religious community, it is not an easy thing to do.

January 26, 2006 11:46 AM  
Anonymous YD of the BeyondBT blog said...

"Zai nisht metsumtsem tsu dee eiginer braitkait" = "Don't be narrowed to your own broad-mindedness". There is a time and a place for hunkering down to resist "facts that becloud the issues". Why do you have such faith in your own rationality and fail to see the rationality of a faith that has stood the test of time? Sounds like a bit of hubris to me. G-d demands that we recognize a divsion between the holy and the mundane. As politically incorrect as this is going to sound Judaism holds of double standards. See the last Rambam in the laws of Me'eelah and you'll find some nachas and some sense to the quote. Maybe even some beauty!

January 26, 2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

YD said: Why do you have such faith in your own rationality and fail to see the rationality of a faith that has stood the test of time? Sounds like a bit of hubris to me.

I am not sure what you are talking about. Can you please elaborate?

January 26, 2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


I am not even sure if you need to respect them, just be willing to listen to their point of view instead of dismissing them out of hand, and also trying to see where they are coming from, even if you ultimately disagree. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

It is hard, I will concur. I found this on Gil Student's Hirhurim blog 12/07/05 post.

Maharal, Be'er Ha-Golah 5:1 (translation/adaptation by R. Yitzchok Adlerstein):

Just as love often causes you to overlook deficiencies, hatred can make you discover imagined faults, and summarily dismiss other viewpoints. This is a consequence of a jaundiced eye and a warped mind. Even the great secular philosopher wrote[2] about how inappropriate it is to contemptuously dismiss the position of your opponent in order to shore up your own position. The truth is the best defense against the barbs and criticism of your enemies. Producing clear evidence is the necessary and sufficient refutation of your adversary's position.

In addition, your arguments will have far greater appeal to people who truly seek the truth when you calmly and rationally consider your opponent's position, rather than dismiss it with contempt and hatred. You will protect yourself from the accusation that your arguments are self-serving, rather than a serious attempt at truth.

You should not provoke your adversary to anger, or show hatred to him, but show compassion, conceding his correct points, and speak softly and calmly with him... Disputants should show the same courtesy and udnerstanding to each other as they do to themselves; it is never appropriate to strong-arm your adversary into submission.

January 27, 2006 7:00 AM  
Anonymous YD of BeyondBT said...

Well before I read your response to Shosahana I read your post to mean that you were incredulous of the notable quote. I thought that you were being dismissive of the other viewpoint and fashioning yourself (as many other Jews with their own blogs do) a dispassionate rationalist. Hence the accusation of surrendering to hubris. Did you look up the Rambam?

January 28, 2006 10:19 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...


I am not a "dispassionate rationalist" although by nature I am not a mystic. If you interpreted my posting of the quote to be sarcastic, it was not - I sincerely agree with it. As for the Rambam - I'm relatively new in Torah learning and so I don't have an extensive library of seforim, nor ready access to them. Also, I'd need one with an English translation. If you have one handy, I'd appreciate you posting with an explanation.

January 29, 2006 8:06 AM  

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