The Capacity of Small Minds

Recently I met someone in a social situation.  We talked at length about a wide spectrum of topics and had much to share.  It was an interesting and enjoyable experience.  When I suggested that he might enjoy reading some of my blog entries my suggestion was enthusiastically received.

Two days later I receive the following e-mail (to the best of my recollection as I deleted it upon reading it):

“If you think Glenn Beck is a prophet, as you wrote, then I have nothing further to say to you and we have nothing in common. I met him several years ago and he is a money-hungry phony.How anyone can listen to him is beyond me.”

Now this is a highly educated man who owns his own publishing company that publishes a sports magazine in the Philadelphia area.  So it started me thinking about three things: education, small minds and hate.

1.       My thoughts about education are neither unique nor startling.  The amount of years one spends obtaining a formal education correlates to neither common sense nor wisdom.  It correlates to one’s capacity to regurgitate what is being fed, and in the best of cases, to sprinkle that with some creative thinking of one’s own to hopefully generate some modicum of internally-sourced and outside-the-box thinking.  I make this statement absent jealously or resentment since I am one of those educated people, having spent 19 years in formal education on the way to obtaining a Juris Doctor in law.

All those years made me educated, in a specific way, not necessarily wise or open-minded. That requires education of a different sort.

2.       Small minds abound, even among the educated.  Take my acquaintance above.  His reaction is proof that the capacity to ingest and digest factual knowledge is not a reliable indicator of a mind capable of expansive or inclusive thinking.  To do that, one has to possess qualities not taught in school such as compassion, understanding and wisdom.

3.       As for hate… I’ve come to believe it’s the emotion of choice for fearful, unwise, small minded individuals.

Which brings me back to my acquaintance.

He was quick to condemn both Glenn Beck and me for…well… actually… I’m not quite sure for what exactly and I doubt he is either.  However, the irony is that after receiving his inexplicable e-mail I Googled his name.  What I learned was that not too long ago he was indicted and convicted of failing to report income as well as some dubious ethical behavior while working in city government.  At least he had the benefit of representation and a trial before anyone judged and condemned him… and, oh yes, sentenced him to 6 months house arrest wearing a secure ankle bracelet.

So much for education, small minds and hate.

If you read my blog regularly you’d know that I like to close with some pithy comment but, quite frankly, I can’t top the paragraph that precedes this one. Truth may or may not be stranger than fiction but, in this case, its certainly more enjoyable.

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