To keep an open mind was one of the many virtues that Antoninus passed down to his step-son, Marcus Aurelius. Keeping an open mind means that we are open to questions regarding our own ideas, actions, behavior, and beliefs. If we are confronted with evidence of a mistake we have made, we should not feel as if we’re being attacked. Since truth is what we should be after, we should feel glad that our mistake has been pointed out before we dig ourselves deeper.
Look, I know we’ve all seen this message before. I’m not going to glaze over what I’m trying to convey here.
The presidential election of 2020 was, and still is, believed by many to have been stolen. Although I never believed that it could be stolen, and maybe spoke out as such, I waited for any and all evidence to come forward. Although I was pretty certain of the impossibility of the quantity of fraud and conspiracy it would take to rig a U.S. election, if the evidence had came out, I would have unwillingly accepted the results with a deep melancholy. It would have done me no good to brazenly deny facts (regardless of the number of my peers that were doing so) and to continue living my life within this lie.
Fortunately, this evidence never came. Indeed, insurmountable evidence has accumulated to refute these ridiculous claims of election fraud. It is unfortunate that such a large proportion of this country brushes this aside as hogwash, and continues to close up their minds and live a lie. It is outside our control, however, and if we are to call ourselves true philosophers, we must not let this bother us. We must not take it personal.
Often times I find myself thinking, “I’m keeping an open mind so you should be, too, dammit!” In the same moment I usually check myself. This is not the way a stoic philosopher would think. I’m only in control of my own actions and reactions.