Many of us have trained ourselves to be, or at least to appear to be, open to a broad spectrum of ideas. It's how we want to appear, and it's how we want to be.
But it seems to me that one area where we're unapologetically closed-minded is not about ideas themselves, but about how seriously people are supposed to take things—how much time and energy and volume and spirit people are supposed to give to their interests.
I'm a bit of a foodie but he's a food nut. I like tennis, but she's a tennis freak. I follow politics, but he's a politics junkie. I'm a bird-watcher, but he's a birding geek. I like guns, but she's a gun fanatic.
Which would be fine, except your rigidity about how seriously I am supposed to take the history of television sitcoms, for instance—or corporate communication or public education or hairpiece manufacturing or steel towns in the early 20th century or Joni Mitchell (or Justin Beiber) prevents communication—keeps you from learning what I know, inhibits me from sharing my passions with you.
One type of open-mindedness we must cultivate in ourselves: We must be unafraid to lose, temporarily, a sense of all proportion. I'd say seven straight minutes and twenty one seconds is the minimum amount of time you ought to listen to someone talk about lacing the spokes of a motorcycle wheel. We need that much time just to begin to see our petrified mound of acquired ideas in a slightly new light.
As the man says, "When you know how to spoke a wheel, you end up spoking wheels." Hear him out. Or hear someone out who cares about something you don't care about, the way you care about trains.
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