Can there ever be some kind of middle-mind world where, say, liberals and conservatives might find agreement? And others a certain peace? Or at least acceptance for the differences among us? Where far-left and far-right absolutists are seen for what they are?
Can’t there be a middle-ground where virtue lives, with everyone working to build a world that encourages individuality while recognizing, accepting and respecting diversity and the importance of community? Looking out for the “greater good,” not just personal interests?
Just because one thinks they are right does not have to mean others are wrong; just because one knows how the world should be run does not have to mean there is no other way or possibility.
History teaches there is nothing quite as dangerous as a narrow and closed mind, especially when it has or arrogantly claims power to impose its thinking on others. Many narrow minds are like a clenched fist, looking for a fight. Not that one’s narrowness ignores truth, or what they believe it to be, but that it renders “truth” convenient for one’s own purposes.
What is so alluring about a black-and-white mindset? A black-and-white perspective, even when push comes to shove, tends to find only shades of gray, ignoring the spectrum of creative possibilities of life itself.
Racists, home-grown terrorists and “true-believers” are shamefully un-American. Isn’t the Common Good one of the foundation stones of Democracy? Narrow minds do not seem to know the meaning of that concept. Their righteousness can too often become a self-inflicted darkness of judgement and hate.
A working democracy should be a chorus of many voices. Those Left and Right deserve and need to be heard even when discordant. But discords need to be open to the music looking for harmony and wholeness. Discords can be essential to the creative process if they are not ultimately destructive. Narrow minds need to be opened – or open themselves – to the keyboard and rhythms of possibilities.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), an English writer, seeing a child playing “tightrope” down the seams of cement on a city sidewalk, observed in an essay how sad it was to so confine a self with such a wide and wonderful world all around. There is a lesson for any narrow mind in that image.
Virtue may live the middle, but that middle needs to be enriched, not destroyed by its surroundings.