posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 10:54 AM
Upbringing, Society, Environment and Economics.
All of these and more are factors that directly influence our thinking and behavior, they "prejudice" us and cause us to make "assumptions."
I was watching an episode of the Unit the other day where they were going thorough their initial training. At the very beginning, the Master Sergeant
in Charge told the troops to "listen exactly to what he said." to "pay attention to the words and make no assumptions." The very first exercise,
one of the "troopers" was discharged from the training because he made an assumption.
President Bush walks out on an Aircraft Carrier and makes the statement "Mission Accomplished." He was speaking of the effort to capture Saddam.
Yet the segment of the country that had turned against him, read into his words that the war was over. No matter that he CLEARLY stated that the War
on Terror was a VERY long ongoing process that was years in the future. He stated this several times, and yet all those that hate him heard was
HUD Secretary Jackson makes a statement in which he calls for prominent black leaders to stop perpetuating the "victim" mentality and begin taking
responsibility for their own actions.
Now there is a consensus among specific groups that his statements are racist and unproductive. There is also comments that he should not be making
such statements even though I am pretty sure the First Amendment applies to HUD Secretaries as well.
What makes us read into statements? Is it that they are inherently against our beliefs and so we "choose" to manipulate the meaning instead of
simply accepting the premise of the statement? Why must we always "assume" that any statement that does not fit in our comfort zone, be one of
Instead of reading a statement and just accepting the premise the author intended, we automatically insert our own brand of preconceptions into it and
thus negate any intelligent further discourse on the subject.
How do we combat this?
Listening. Reading. Time. Study and accepting that "our" view is not necessarily the correct one, or even the view the Author was reaching for. We
do a disservice to not only the Author, but to ourselves and those we hold discourse with if we do not accept another's words for what they are and
not place our own qualitative analysis into them. I am of course not implying we should not evaluate the subject matter. Where would ATS be if we did
not do that. I am merely saying that we should cease with, "Well you know what he meant." and "It is obvious he is "this"' or "that"."
Acceptance that no matter how strongly we may feel about an issue, there are those that feel just as strongly and hold an opposing view. Accept that
we just may be wrong and our upbringing or societal factors do not allow us to see this for what it is. We do not necessarily have to change our view,
but we should accept another's view as plausible, even possibly more valid than our own.
Perhaps the most difficult of any factor that is a solid component in combating ignorance and the lack of understanding. However, possibly the most
Humility allows us to be true to ourselves, to accept and understand our own limitations. Allows us to acknowledge that another's point of view is
every bit as valid as our own.
More importantly, it grants us the ability to understand that we may be wrong.
Can we ever be expected to completely deny our own prejudices or assumptions? Of course not, the impact of our upbringing, societal impact and
economic situations is too great. Yet we should not ignore the struggle or stop the battle to improve our ability to....
"Simply Read Another's Words"