I have spent years walking around, thinking that I am pretty objective about most things in life. After all I am a reasonably knowledgeable person. I try to keep up on issues and events. The problem comes when I run into other knowledgeable people who disagree with me. Are they duping themselves? Are they really that poorly informed? Did they get sucked into propaganda produced by the crazies out there? Or are they just stupid?
While some of these assumptions might be true, the thing I’m learning is that I’m not quite as objective as I might wish to be. After all, isn’t the fundamental human failing the desire to “… be like God … knowing good and evil.”? I do try to read and listen to people from varying perspectives, but when push comes to shove, I’ve come to realize that I fall back on to a set of myths that lay deep within me, most of which have been derived from life experiences. (By ‘myths’ I don’t mean lies. Myths, in the truest sense, are stories or beliefs that explain origin or nature.)
Here are a few examples of myths that I’ve heard thinly veiled in conversation:
– All wealthy people and corporations are greedy
– All poor people are lazy and dependent
– God loves me
– I’m not sure there is a god
– Mostly, men think about sex
– Women are most conscious of what other women are thinking
– No one understands me
– No one accepts me for who I really am
– Republicans are selfish
– Democrats are naïve
– I am frightened that someone wants to take what I have
You might look at each one of these items as a simple prejudice or notion, but each can serve to spawn a whole universe of perspectives. Each contains some amount of truth, but none of them are acknowledged by all people. The task then becomes for me to sort out the deepest myths that I rely on, and ask how valid or well informed they might be. It’s a daunting task.
Just a thought … DonC