Having Answers

Not long ago I received a fairly personal rejection. I was dismissively waved-off by a certain group for --get this-- “being the sort of person who has answers.” I don't challenge the accusation, but the slight was personal and I was actually wounded by it. I was hurt that this group was so blatantly prejudiced. I was hurt because, previous to this incident, I had been fooled into thinking this group had integrity and that it shared various commitments I hold dear.

At best, the criticism was a euphemism for "not being open-minded." Nonetheless, I did seriously consider the insinuation that I am not properly or sufficiently self-critical. I had to do this because being self-critical is one of my most valued principles, and that very fact means that I take such aspersions to heart. In the end, partly through the encouragement of more objective witnesses, I realized this group was being hypocritical and petty. They felt threatened, and their rejection amounted to saying: “you don't think the way we do. go away.”

To be ever seeking the truth, but never finding it; ever questioning, but never answering is hubris and cowardice in the extreme. Those who would be genuinely open-minded and self-critical should consider Chesterton’s reflection that “the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid” (Autobiography. Collected Works Vol. 16, p. 212).

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