Saturday, August 18, 2007

Understanding Closedmindedness

Closedmindedness is one of the most common known mental disorders. It is characterized by an irrational and excessive clinging to a single idea, a limited capacity for imagination when presented with alternative perspectives, and delusions that one's point of view is absolutely correct or that whoever disagrees with the sufferer is suffering from Closedmindedness while the sufferer him/herself is not. Approximately 100% of the population will suffer an episode during the course of a lifetime, although frequency and severity varies widely among individuals. It is roughly equal in prevalence among people of all races, sexes, classes, ages, nationalities, sexual orientations, and neurotypes.

It is popularly believed that some people suffer Closedmindedness more frequently and severely than others - e.g., older people, the poorly educated, and political conservatives. Current research makes no indication that these stereotypes are true: Closedmindedness has been found to be remarkably prevalent in all populations, although political extremists on either end of the spectrum may well be suffering especially severe episodes. Given that the delusion that the sufferer him/herself is unaffected by Closedmindedness while his/her "enemies" are severely affected is a frequent symptom of Closedmindedness, it is likely that those spreading the myth that Closedmindedness is more common among some groups than others are most likely sufferering an episode themselves.

The most severe episodes of Closedmindedness may be accompanied by sociopathic and criminal behavior, e.g. genocide and attempted genocide. Severe, sociopathic Closedmindedness is not as prevalent as the milder forms, but its sufferers can cause great damage to a community, especially if those sufferers happen to be in power and trigger severe episodes in equally powerful or less powerful "enemies" who progress to vengeance.

An episode in one individual is also likely to trigger an episode in another individual with whom the sufferer is arguing or debating. So while it is not caused by a physical infectious agent, Closedmindedness is socially contagious in much the same manner as laughter or a yawn.

There is no known cure for Closedmindedness. Episodes, however, are often temporary and spontaneously end on their own. Effort to maintain and make use of an open mind once an episode of Closedmindedness has remitted may help make recurring episodes less frequent and severe.

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