Small Minds

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

1) What do you think about this?

2) Where do you fall?

Discussing only ideas reminds me of the pontificating professor, secluded from the world in his academic egg shell.  Talking only about people makes me think of the usual demographic that watches endless reality shows.


4 thoughts on “Small Minds

  1. I see this similar to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” I’ll explain later. I agree that if we only discussed ideas, then it doesn’t do much because we can’t apply those ideas. But I don’t think Eleanor Roosevelt is saying that. She’s simply saying “great minds discuss ideas.” I’ll give some examples. Here’s a great idea: Democracy is a good form of government. Now that idea has been around since the Greeks and we’re still talking about it. We can discuss various forms of democracy and whether we want direct democracy or representational democracy or whatever. But we are all talking about some general idea: democracy.

    Here’s an event: Iran may get nuclear weapons. Now this event is much more temporal. This event may or may not happen but over time, we shall see if this is a true statement or not. Because this event doesn’t have such a huge significance as “Democracy is a good form of government,” then Iran pales in significance when it comes to ideas. In other words, events come and go, but ideas will always be around.

    When it comes to people, I can say something like, “Obama is the coolest president ever.” Or “Obama sucks as a president, and sucks worse as a person.” Now, that is extremely temporary. After Obama’s done with his term, hardly anyone will be talking about him anymore. Talking about people is very short-lived. It’s like the latest gossip, if you will. So think of it like this: in 25 years from now, I’m willing to bet everyone will still be talking about democracy and whether it’s a good form of government or not, I’m willing to bet that in 25 years, a lot of people (but not everyone) will be talking about Iran gaining nuclear weapons. And in 25 years, hardly anyone will be talking about Obama. In fact, I doubt people will know who Obama is in 25 years.

    With this said, people who concentrate on the now really have a limited scope of knowledge. People who concentrate on ideas have a broad picture of things. That’s how I interpret Roosevelt’s quote.

  2. Seems like old Eleanor was talking about gossip I think about how small minds talk about people? She would. Didn’t want the rumor that she was a fan of the clam ;).

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