Dogs bark at those they do not know

“Dogs bark at those they do not know.”

—Samuel Daniel, 17th Century English Poet

Image of a barking dog

Image from Flickr by Toshihiro Gamo

Can you imagine people barking like dogs at people they don’t know?

In many ways, we do just that, except our bark is often silent, much like a dog whistle is to we humans.

This inner bark is often our judgement, criticism, and prejudice, showing that we are rarely open or receptive to another’s point of view, perspectives, or beliefs.

Take a look at the communities within your personal and professional worlds. What, overall, is the cost of the silent and not so silent “barking”?

Peace and a sense of unified community is hard to find, even if all signs point to things being fine on the surface.

EXERCISE:

Where would acknowledging and working on your own judgmental and critical tendencies support your cooperative and collaborative nature with those you’ve barked at in the past?

“A great many people think…”

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

—William James, 19th Century American philosopher

Image from sites.bu.edu

Image from sites.bu.edu

The term “prejudice” carries negative connotations for most people. We see numerous examples related to prejudice when we watch the local, national, and global news.

Few consider themselves prejudiced. “That label applies to the short-sighted individuals out there, not to me.”

Today’s quote points to the fact that our everyday thinking is actually a form of prejudice that helps us navigate our world, on the one hand, and which can limit us on the other hand.

EXERCISE:

How often do you find yourself exploring new ways of thinking, or trying on views other than those you have held for years?

What would be possible, and what value could you create, if you were to rearrange your prejudices?