“We must look AT the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and understand that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.” Stephen R Covey
When Manchester United play Liverpool and a player goes down in the penalty area, does your allegiance to either team influence whether it is a penalty or a dive? If you love the Green Bay Packers, then when a Chicago Bears player hits a Packer, is it or isn’t it a foul? Do you think David Cameron or Barack Obama is the devil incarnate (Fox news do) or is it Ed Middleton/Mitt Romney who fuels your ire?
And in all cases, is your viewpoint tinged with essence of ideological bias?
Yes it is, and don’t pretend otherwise. It is because that is the way we are made up – what we ‘like’ we agree with and what we don’t, we don’t.
However, and this is what Dr Covey proposes, the mere awareness of this bias means that we can choose to ignore it and look again at whatever it is we saw, with a more objective eye. Then we can look at ‘our’ player and see that it was a somewhat pre-emptive throwing of self to the floor, and we can look at a politician and decide that s/he didn’t get up this morning and decide ‘what I will do solely to annoy the opposition today’?
It would be nice if the press/media could do that, instead of deliberately fuelling things for the purposes of selling a story they know to be a lie, now and then. It would be nice if Congress stopped simply opposing everything on the basis of ideology and just once started to work for their country instead of just against Obama. It would be great to acknowledge and respect the needs of minorities without turning the world around to suit them at the expense of the majority. It would be best if the whole world stopped being so partially blind based on their expectations of an ideal world, and started looking at what they can do with the realities, instead.
In the end, what we see is a reflection of who we have chosen to be. That is influenced by what has gone on before and what we have heard. But it doesn’t have to be solely based on experience and learning, both of which aren’t as comprehensive as we think. (Don’t get me started on educational psycho-social indoctrination by ‘accident’!)
If we utilise the Three Resolutions, we can discipline ourselves to think more proactively, deny ourselves the ‘comfort’ of blindly agreeing with anything that seems to be in accordance with our ideology, and we can show the character required when we realise that what we thought to be true is no longer so – and say so. And we can serve others better when we aren’t so caught up in what we ‘think’ they are, and just decide to serve them regardless.
That isn’t easy. But the Three Resolutions aren’t supposed to be.
They are hard, but they are great.