I’m looking at the two “talking heads” on TV. Side by side, they each argue passionately about the same political candidate.
Talking-head A says that electing the candidate is great for the country.
Talking-head B says that electing this candidate is the worst thing that can happen to our country.
Who is right?
And who is wrong?
There is no such thing as objectivity
Neuroscientists tell us we are responding and not choosing. Research shows how our past, our experiences, influence how we see the world around us.
Let’s take a look at two examples: what we perceive as being dangerous; and how we feel about time.
Fashionable and “dangerous”
I used to keep up with the latest trends in fashion. At one time, while still living in Eastern Europe, I’ve decided to get an “Afro”. I was not alone. My friend (trouble usually comes in two ; ) also thought it’s a great idea. So off we went to the hair salon. My long tresses fell on the floor; and after applications of chemicals and whatever else they did, we both came out with curly hair.
We were enchanted with our hairdos so we went to a café. And all the admiring looks and wolf-whistles we got made our heads even bigger : )
We finally decided to call it a day. It was dusk when I got home. I lived with several other roommates and I couldn’t wait to show off my new hair.
As I opened the gate, I thought I saw one of my roommates. But when I looked again, no one seemed to be there. It was getting dark and it was hard to see. The long walk between the front gate and the house was no fun with high heels on. When I finally reached the house and opened the door, my roommate greeted me with a cry of relief, “It’s you!!!”
A real nice person, my roommate grew up in a small rural village. And this was the first time she was away from home. Life in the capital, a city of several millions, made her nervous. Especially being around foreign exchange students. They looked different from the people she grew up with. That evening, my fashionable curls and darker skin made me look a lot like one of them.
Who knew? I could be fashionable and “dangerous”– all in one day : )
Twelve years can be an eternity
A while back a friend was sharing some of his childhood memories. When he was a boy he had a paper route. And his mom used to get up early to help him.
A few years later, a terminal illness took her away from the family. He was only twelve years-old.
He spoke of how grateful he felt to have had those early mornings with his mom.
For some, twelve years may be not be much. But ask those who didn’t get a chance to know their mom.
They’ll tell you twelve years it’s an eternity.
It’s all relative — even eternity
These are just two examples of how our perceptions can work with or against us.
It’s no secret how powerful our beliefs are.
We all know of the placebo effect. How our brain can influence our body to heal itself.
Someone asked me last week: given the power, what is the ONE thing I would do to change the world?
Education. The way it is right now, if and how you get an education depends on where in the world you are born; it can be compared to a lottery.
The Lottery of Life.
You hit the Jackpot when you are born in a democracy like ours.
For all its faults, Communism also has (or at least had while I was growing up) great educational programs.
Education would be the great equalizer. Regardless of gender, income, etc.
That’s a good starting point if we want to change our world.
Educating ourselves; knowing the why behind our perceptions.
And knowing when our perceptions work against us.
Start with a WHY.
Then decide WHEN and HOW to start the change.
Thanks for visiting.