Regarding Bias

Posted: July 9, 2008 in Personal Relationships

One thing I’ve learned from my efforts to have a civil dialog with friends and family – especially those with a different viewpoint – is when one’s mind is so biased that he/she can not open it to others’ alternative viewpoints, one can not understand what the other is saying. I really do not believe it is because I write without clarity that I get responses like I don’t understand what you are saying. This was a response from a ditto-head, by the way. I also get this kind of response from others who see political cartoons that I send them. Something like I’m sure there is a deeper meaning to this but I can’t understand what it is saying. Upon reviewing the message I sent to this person I am just dashed that the person to whom I sent it couldn’t understand the message. I am attaching the cartoon for your perusal. I believe, if you can’t understand what it is saying, either you are too biased to understand it, or you are just ignorant of what is going on in the world about you.

I am nearly finished viewing the made-for-TV movie from Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice. I had seen it many years ago. Of course, as with other movies I’ve re-viewed after a long interval (in years), I am seeing it with a much more introspective view.

Viewing this movie I see so many facets in the characters that reflect in myself and others around me. It enables me to understand myself and others so much more completely.

I really believe that if you view serious movies or read the corresponding book and can’t see the deeper meaning you are either suffering from attention deficit disorder – a form of obtuseness, you are ignorant, or your mind is biased against the value of literature to enlighten us and our view the world around us.

Consider the quotation from Salmon Rushdie:

 

If religion is an answer,

If political ideology is an answer,

Then literature is an inquiry;

Great literature, by asking extraordinary questions, opens new doors in our minds.

 

One of the reasons I prefer to correspond with written messages or letters via snail mail is I have the opportunity to think out a reasoned response. I am not real good at coming up with quick responses to arguments. That’s not always true, but if I am intimidated by the person with whom I am conversing, my mind turns to jelly. I’m not sure if this isn’t true, to some extent with everybody.

The other reason I prefer to correspond with written text, rather than verbal exchanges, is there is a record of what is said. Neither party can use an adulterated recollection to buffalo the other into believing that he/she has a faulty memory. Or, the intimidator is simply trying to win the argument by throwing inconsistencies.

In conclusion, I have to say that bias is the grossest barrier to effective communications. (Did you know that gross is the German word for great?)

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