“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices—just recognize them.”
—Edward R. Murrow, 20th Century American Broadcaster
Image from Unsplash by Sharon McCutcheon
Edward R. Murrow was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe. One of his numerous noteworthy accomplishments was his TV program “See it Now,” which helped expose and censure Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Murrow’s fellow journalists considered him one of journalism’s greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news. Much of the public at the time agreed.
What news sources do you trust to deliver current events with honesty and objectivity? How can we more fully recognize and appreciate the unconscious biases created through our life experiences?
How might the reporting of Edward Murrow, if he were working today, help release us from theses prisons?
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
Image of Albert Einstein from Public Domain
When we think of great minds, few people top the list more often than Albert Einstein.
If you investigate his life through a wide variety of sources, you will see that he was fond of what he called “thought experiments.”
I guess you could say that he thought a lot about thinking!
What about your own mind?
How much do you think about your own thoughts and how they influence your view of others and life in general?
What prejudices, biases, mental models, and paradigms have you ingrained that support and in many cases limit what’s possible for you?
How can and will you conduct some of your own expanded thought experiments to realize a less common and more extraordinary life?
“Dogs bark at those they do not know.”
—Samuel Daniel, 17th Century English Poet
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.
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 they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
—William James, 19th Century American philosopher
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.
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?