“Just look through the microscope.”
It’s a phrase based on now-mythic stories about Galileo’s unsuccessful debates with the religious leaders and church-governed philosophers of his time who, he said, refused to look at the natural world’s evidence because of their presuppositions about it.
Particularly in times of stress and conflict, one of a leader’s most important skills is the ability to simplify, to strip down premises conventionally taken for granted and so make room for observation.
By being aware of what is happening, I begin to sense how it is happening…To become aware of what is happening, I must pay attention with an open mind. I must set aside my personal prejudices or bias. Prejudiced people see only what fits those prejudices.” —John Heider
The challenge is that we’re all prejudiced in some regard. Implicit bias isn’t just something that influences how Those People Elsewhere read the world and engage us; it’s also something that influences how we read the world and engage them.
I find meditation helpful, but not because it is as Heider supposes a way for me to “set aside” my biases. Instead I find it simply gives me a little more room to recover from stings and slung barbs, to keep walking through life heart-first rather than junk-first.
Especially these days when the world is wearying and people are presumptuous, I need that. Perhaps we all do.