I saw the term “link-minded” today on the website for an upcoming conference. The exact words were:
Our aim is to attract as many like-minded thinkers as possible.
And I wondered: What does that even mean?
Don’t get me wrong. I think I know what it means, but I’m still confused as how this works together with aiming for diversity. Where does the good like-minded end and the bad like-minded begin?
But let me explain:
Good like-minded: Aiming for the same goal, being able to communicate without difficulty, sharing the same interests.
Bad like-minded: Not able to think out of the box, very similar backgrounds, no disagreements, no challenges.
The bad like-minded is like a club that only accepts members after making sure that they won’t disturb the peace of the club, won’t question long-held beliefs and will hopefully just blend in without anyone noticing.
The good like-minded is like a community with a shared interest which is always happy to accept new members, search for new ways to look at things and will not shy away from anyone questioning them (as long as it is done in a socially acceptable way).
I’m pretty sure that what was meant on the website was the good like-minded, the one where a common goal is key and like-minded means “people who are smart and love to argue and discuss stuff and are not afraid to speak their mind, because we sure as hell aren’t”.
But the fact that it started me wondering (and partly worrying) also means that it’s a fine line between looking for allies in the battle for knowledge and a better world and trying to avoid those that might challenge you and make you feel uncomfortable.