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Example sentence:

However much in earnest he might be, he had nothing of the single-mindedness that belongs to a fanatic. (221, Nineteen Eighty-Four)

The word "single-minded" seem to suggest a complete and one dimensional self-devotion to a single motivation. (Which is a great way of creating a boring antagonist if I ever saw one)

I am wondering what would be some of its antonym?

The following would not work:

  • half-hearted
  • lackadaisical

They would not work because they are specific to a certain action but does not characterize a person in general, and they show a lack of motivation, rather than a diversity of motivations.

Sentence to apply the word to:

"You may very well think that I am a single-minded fanatic, but I am in fact just as complex and ___ as you are."

1

You are looking for a word that speaks of "a diversity of motivations".

Try multifaceted.

Multifaceted adjective 2 Having many different aspects or features: his extraordinary and multifaceted career - ODO

Your sample sentence will then be:

You may very well think that I am a single-minded fanatic, but I am in fact just as complex and multifaceted as you are.

Here's an example of actual use, found on the internet:

Examining Motivation in Online Distance Learning Environments: Complex, Multifaceted, and Situation-Dependent - M Hartnett, A St. George and J Dron

2

"You may very well think that I am a single-minded fanatic, but I am in fact just as complex and conflicted as you are."

While not a typical antonym, conflicted fit's your example sentence.

con·flict

verb

past tense: conflicted; past participle: conflicted

kənˈflikt,ˈkänˌflikt/

be incompatible or at variance; clash.

"parents' and children's interests sometimes conflict"

synonyms: clash, be incompatible, vary, be at odds, be in conflict, differ, diverge, disagree, contrast, collide

"their interests sometimes conflict"

contradictory, incompatible, inconsistent, irreconcilable, incongruous, contrary, opposite, opposing, antithetical, clashing, discordant, divergent;

at odds

"the two suspects gave conflicting stories"

having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent feelings.

adjective: conflicted

"my feelings are so conflicted that I hardly know how to answer"

google: conflicted

1

Hmm, not sure how to answer, I'm

of two minds

of two minds (about someone or something)

Fig. holding conflicting opinions about someone or something; being undecided about someone or something. I am of two minds about whether I should go to the convention.

idioms.thefreedictionary.com: of two minds

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I'd suggest, muddle-minded

mentally confused : muddleheaded

M-W

Also, out of focus

fig. not concentrating on single issues

WordReference

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In 1948 when Orwell was writing the book, broadminded would have done, but I don’t hear it used anymore.

  • 1
    "Broad-minded" still seem to exist, but it doesn't mean what it might have meant anymore. – user289661 Apr 10 '16 at 4:24
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    Merriam - Webster's short definition is "tolerant of varied views". dictionary.com says "free from prejudice or bigotry". I don't think I've heard it used in this millennium. Do you know it with a different meaning? – Al Maki Apr 11 '16 at 0:01
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Indecisive seems to be a good choice. When one is "single minded' they move forward with complete certainty.

When one is indecisive, they may not move forward at all.

-1

You could describe the person as confused or wishy-washy. However, these don't work very well in the sentence you suggested.

A better fit would therefore be versatile or well-rounded. An even better choice might be thoughtful or possibly rational.

You may very well think that I am a single-minded fanatic, but I am in fact just as complex and rational as you are.

-1

The term single-minded is a synonym of the following:

determined, committed, unswerving, unwavering, resolute, purposeful, devoted, dedicated, uncompromising, tireless, tenacious, persistent, indefatigable, dogged, pertinacious

Look up any of the these words in an online thesaurus and you will also find its antonym(s). For instance, the following are antonyms of determined

Antonyms for determined:
irresolute, weak-willed, pusillanimous, yielding, changeable, flexible, indefinite, soft, undecided, unfixed, hesitating, vacillating, wavering

However, in the OP's example sentence, single-minded modifies the noun fanatic, it would be highly unusual to describe oneself as a ‘wavering’ or ‘soft fanatic’. It also appears to me that the connotations for fanatic have become increasingly negative in recent years; in fact it is often used in connection with fundamentalism and acts of terrorism.

  • Senior cleric blasts mosque leader for praising terrorist fanatic ...

  • Dramatic moment robot checks the body of an ISIS fanatic for explosives after he was shot dead...

  • Israelis 'more prone to fanaticism and fundamentalism'

  • Despite the fact that fanaticism exists in world religions, there has been a strong tendency to associate Islam with fundamentalism and fanaticism.

Therefore I would employ any of the following antonyms for fanatic, which are: moderate, and conservative. If the OP wishes to emphasize the diametrical nature of the statement, I would suggest the adjective tolerant and any of its many synonyms: open-minded, forbearing, broad-minded, liberal, unprejudiced, unbiased, patient, long-suffering, understanding, forgiving, charitable, lenient, indulgent, permissive, easygoing, lax, laid-back. The majority of these would fit nicely in the blank.

You may very well think that I am a single-minded fanatic, but I am in fact just as complex and tolerant as you are.

Source: Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition

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