There is often a reaction of disdain or hostility when you suggest, to people, to read books with opposing viewpoints to their own.
Reading books that do not align with your political, religious, or philosophical views is extremely important. But why?
Gaining the knowledge and perspective of your opposition is beneficial in a couple of different ways. For one, understanding opposing arguments will allow you to fortify a rebuttal during a debate. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to refute something that you do not fully understand.
If debate is of no interest to you, then reading opposing viewpoints will allow you to strengthen your own beliefs– or change them. What’s a belief if it cannot endure rigorous questioning?
Much like going to the gym and lifting weights will build physical strength, reading congruent, as well as opposing, viewpoints will increase your mental power.
Widened observation is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of evolution; it’s how we grow as a species.
There’s indeed a potential societal benefit to reading and understanding different perspectives that goes beyond the fortification of belief structure and political/philosophical/scientific debate.
The simple gesture of taking the time to see through the eyes of another person may pacify the building tension (often unjustified) that is pervasive throughout the world.
There are, inevitably, ideas that you will find no reconciliation with, or tolerance for. It is imperative, then, to understand the intricacies of these philosophies if you intend to oppose them.
For example: Capitalism vs. Communism, Atheism vs. Creationism, Objectivism vs. Subjectivism, Libertarianism vs. Authoritarianism etc. etc.
Books are a window into the mind of another person. And if you oppose that person’s philosophy, reading their books is like finding a map to a buried treasure; they’re giving you all of their secrets and strategies. In short, “know thy adversary.”
The quest for knowledge cannot be obstructed by arrogance or preference. Gaining multiple perspectives is absolutely essential to expanding the mind.
Fill your library with as many books as possible.