The Open Mind Test – Part 2: A Great Teacher, A Little Philosophy, and A Whole Lot of Love


Do you have an open mind?  I thought I did, and through the course of my life, I have come across three theories or experiences that challenged my open mindedness.  This is part 2 in a 4 part series.  Be sure to read part 1 if you haven’t already.

I hope that part 1, challenged you a little.  I hope that part 2 will challenge you even more.  Here is a little background of the theory.

In college, I took a philosophy course with a really great professor.  He was a bit odd, but that was part of what made him great.  He seemed to not care what others thought of him.  One of the things I remember most about him was that he had a cot and some blankets in his office, and he said he liked to nap between classes.  While I think that is a most wonderful idea, it does come off as a little odd.  But, he didn’t seem to care what others thought, and I could see how that self confidence would make it easier to share philosophical theories.

Well, he had one theory that really tested me and what I thought was an open mind.  Here’s the situation.  Consider Christmas time, when everyone is giving gifts.  Shopping malls are busy with shoppers.  Everyone is buying things for their loved ones.  Now consider that you are married, engaged, or have a significant other; someone whom you love more than anyone else in the world.  This one person is so very special to you that you’ve decided to spend the rest of your life with them.  This one person means the world to you.  You love them more than life itself.  Now, consider this theory.

If you love this one person more than everyone else, then why not spend your entire gift giving budget on that one person.

Let that sink in for a minute.  One giant gift, or possibly a slew of smaller gifts, for the one person you love most.  Wouldn’t you want to make the one you love the most so very happy that you would get them the best gift you could afford?  Even if that meant that nobody else in your life gets a gift?  You have the chance to shower your most cherished person with one stupendous, miraculous, amazing gift.  To show them how much you love them, wholly and completely.  That would make quite a statement to the one you love.

I’m going to hold my own personal thoughts on this one until the wrap-up in part four of this series.  I’d rather let this one stew in your mind for a little while before interjecting my views.

Now, it’s time for you to chime in.  What do you think of this theory?  Are you able to at least consider the possibility?  Let me hear from you in the comments section!

Other posts in this series.
The Open Mind Test – Part 1: An open minded 2nd grader
The Open Mind Test – Part 2: A Great Teacher, A Little Philosophy, and A Whole Lot of Love
The Open Mind Test – Part 3: Our purpose in life
The Open Mind Test – Part 4: Conclusions, Comments, and a Challenge

Photo by Jennifer Chernoff


  1. says

    I guess, sure. I can consider the possibility easily enough, however, doing it is another thing all together. I just don’t think that that’s what Christmas is all about. However the way Christmas has been commercialized, the whole gift giving thing has been completely distorted in the first place.
    .-= Krissa´s last blog ..My life used to be different. =-.

  2. says

    Hmmm, the first thing that came to mind was how exhausting it would be, how much pressure I’d feel, to pursue the one awesome, amazing, stupendous gift for the person I love the most. Because I don’t think there is such a gift. So it seems like it would be a burden rather than a joy to go this route. And I also pondered about whether or not there are degrees of love. I mean, can we love one person more than another, or is love just love? I don’t know if this is what you had in mind when you asked us to consider the possibility, but as you can see I would have really enjoyed being in that philosophy class!
    .-= Patty @ Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Dancing Around the Living Room =-.

  3. says

    Krissa – You are right about the commercialization of Christmas. The whole idea behind Christmas often gets lost. I have a friend who has vowed to make all his own gifts this year. As a way of giving from the heart, that sounds like a good idea to me. Of course he’s a talented artist, so that might make it a little easier.

    Patty – It’s interesting that you think it would be exhausting. I find it exhausting to pick out so many gifts, with one or two for each family member, siblings, parents, nieces, nephews. I think I would find it to be quite a relief to just buy one present. Good point on the degrees of love, it’s hard to break it down like that. I think you would make a great philosopher. :-)

    Jon – This concept definitely gets harder with kids in the mix. Keep in mind it was being discussed in a college classroom, and I think most of us were childless at the time. Not only would you have to run for cover, but you’d have to tell the other kids that they didn’t get present because you don’t like them as much. I laugh just thinking about that.

  4. says

    I think that I can shift the focus in the question a little bit. Considering that I am a mom now, I think that two little people who I love more than anything else in this world are my daughters. I could definitely spend the entire Christmas budget on them and my husband would too.
    If I didn’t have kids, probably not. I would have to share this budget between two people: my husband and my mom. I would not care much about giving presents to people who are not too close to me. Actually my ideal present would be a trip to one of the Caribbean islands. I could take people I love the most on this trip and we would enjoy our time together away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
    .-= Anastasiya´s last blog ..A Simple Way to Nourish Your Body and Soul without Spending a Dime =-.

  5. Julie says

    As the recipient of such a gift, I might wonder who was left out and then feel guilty about it. To me a gift of self would show me more love than my loved one spending his whole budget on me. I guess I value time spent with a person more than the value of gifts. I would love and respect someone more if they found a special way to share themselves or if they gave a small gift that had some thought in it than an expensive (to them) gift. I guess the older I get the less I need big gifts but rather to know that I am thought of in a special way at this time of year.

  6. says

    I would prefer to make some allowance for the smaller gifts to others in the hypothetical situation of having a singular person with whom I so cherished. Additionally, it is not about how much a gift cost but whether we have put thought and creativity into how we wish to express our love.
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Awakening Into Awareness =-.

  7. says

    Anastasiya, I feel the same, it would be so easy to just purchase gifts for my daughter and no one else. You also hit on an item, regarding spending time with others, and even combining that with your gift. A Carribean vacation with the ones I love would be an amazing gift.

    Julie, One small gift and a lot of time spent together… Got it, we’ll see you at Christmas time (and probably several times before then.) You hit on a similar point to Anastasiya, that time is more valuable than physical gifts. I’ve been feeling that more and more myself lately, especially as free time is seems more and more scarce lately.

    Good point on the thought and creativity put into the gift. I feel that we sometimes overlook this on both sides, as the giver and the receiver.

  8. Jack says

    I do a variation on this. I consider myself to have two gift obligations in the entire year, one to my parents and the other to a single sibling as we all draw names. Both of those are Christmas gifts. Other than that I only buy for those I’m inspired to buy for. Last year I bought the two mentioned gifts and the rest of my Christmas spending actually was on my lover. I had no issue with it. I don’t feel like I owe anyone a present. Even the gift for my parents and the one sibling isn’t truly obligatory, but I like the tradition. I have 11 nieces and nephews and sometimes they get gifts, sometimes they don’t. Same goes for all my friends.

    • says

      Jack, I like the way you handle your gift giving. It seems as though you have done away with the obligatory gift giving in favor of inspired gift giving. I bet there is more meaning in the gifts you choose when you approach it in this manner.


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