In this brief study on human behavior I’ll ask you to consider the information presented here from your own unique perspective and to conclude for yourselves the implications of what I’m suggesting.
Let’s say you owned a bakery, but for whatever reason you never bothered to put a backdoor on that bakery. As a result word spreads quickly and in no time at all people discovered they could raid the baked goods at various times of day with little chance of being caught.
Morning, noon, and night you find missing inventory; doughnuts, and bagels, mostly.
You elect for whatever reason to equip a security camera, rather than a backdoor, just to catch these criminals in the act. But due to whatever circumstances, the camera is angled in such a way that it only captures a few of the criminals who all happen to be of any given race or ethnicity.
As the proprietor you begin formulating a bias…
On the one hand you realize that certainly there are more criminals than the ones you are seeing, however you feel utter contempt for the ones you are seeing, and as time goes by you develop an entire way of being about that group.
“They are ruining our way of life.” (Once coined by Adolf Hitler as well I’d suspect.)
Now in this obvious example we see that the camera itself has a bias, we can understand why it isn’t good at sorting data, it’s only seeing something that supports our view. It is literally biasing the data so that we cannot incorporate new data to get a sense of perspective, and from the outside that seems silly.
But our brains do exactly the same thing. They zoom in on data that precludes or at least prevents a broader and thus more rational perspective unless we recognize exactly how and when this data biasing is happening.
This isn’t simply about racial prejudice, but the example here would lead you to conclude at least that much about a biased camera. We forget that the camera isn’t the only thing showing us data.
There is that door…
Problems left untended much like wide open doors do precious little to prevent bad things from happening. The door could represent any of the real problems we face in a society where it’s easier to blame or restrict people than to actually solve a given problem.
The human mind understands an entire network of ideas that can all be linked to a sense of identity. Not a permanent fixed identity but perhaps a cloud of identity-like attributes that respond to external stimuli. Ideas of how this identity should or would behave are often externalized as statements of belief or intent.
“Well I’d never let someone do such a thing.” <— Statement of intent or belief to “self identify”
“They shouldn’t be allowed to do that.” <—- Same idea.
As usual these types of statements identify the types of bias that underlie the “suddenly loud expressions” we find ourselves confronted with. As usual they have very little to do with anything that actually solves a problem.
Some problems are not meant to be solved, but are meant to give a wider perspective to what it means to live in the world. There will always be some type of struggle, you will always have a “dog in some fights and not in others.”
You might imagine you know what’s best overall, and for you personally you might. But ultimately nobody agrees on everything and it’s not a good idea to shape the world to one ideology. Everyone deserves freedom until they impede another’s freedom.
Tolerance is a backdoor problem, the solutions are different for everyone.
I’ll conclude with Lao Tzu and then you may draw your own conclusions:
The Tao is constant in non-action
Yet there is nothing it does not do
If the sovereign can hold on to this
All things shall transform themselves
Transformed, yet wishing to achieve
I shall restrain them with the simplicity of the nameless
The simplicity of the nameless
They shall be without desire
Without desire, using stillness
The world shall steady itself