The context reveals a bias we have about pizza. Both pieces are on a plate and both pieces are perfect. Unless you are near starving you won’t choose to eat the one on the right. The prejudice for clean food isn’t good or bad. Many people won’t eat off a plate ‘contaminated’ by someone else. Context lets you justify how you discriminate. It is just your thinking that makes it so.
“the words, good and bad are meaningless. This is based on science and not on opinion. – Buckminster Fuller [Critical Path 1981]
A recent event [May29, 2020] triggered a bias of mine and I didn’t notice the trigger or the bias initially. I believed what I saw was the truth. It was true but not the entire truth. When I was 20 a half dozen squad cars came to my parents’ home as I was about to leave for work. The police showed my parents the charges. I was handcuffed and put into one of the squad cars, taken to the police station, interrogated in a small room with a couple policeman and charged with stealing over $10,000. The proof, circumstantial and using inductive reasoning was profound. Had it been anyone else they were talking about I would have agreed. I was innocent. NOBODY believed me. Not even the attorney my parents hired. Fortunately, it wasn’t the first time I was all alone. I survived. The person who committed the acts was caught the evening before I was go to trial and prison. I woke up on a Friday with dread and by 9am relieved. Nobody ever apologized. They were just doing their job.
I’ve had this ‘trigger’ for almost 50 years. My bias is justified. Doesn’t make it useful however. Most people justify their behavior with their beliefs. Common. Dangerous and sometimes deadly. Removing a bias is like attempting to remove your eyeballs. Whatever you resist persists. I thought I’d managed it, so I was always aware of its trigger but watching the videos of a policemen kneel on a man’s neck, knowing George Floyd died, dragged up a lot of anger. I was not in control of the context. I saw someone murdered by a policeman. But did he know or was he following an accepted way to deal with a suspect?
Days later we learn the police were only doing what they were trained to do. Doesn’t matter, they were fired immediately. The family hired their own medical examiner and got the results they wanted. The policeman entered the Twilight Zone. Their lives ruined and thousands of others because of context. Has the press offered any other context?
Whether you are a victim or successful, happy or sad, interested or not, is made possible with the function of context. How do you hold your life to be? What prism do you see through? What has you alter the view? Can you change your context? When you learn how, you can see the world through a kaleidoscope of context spinning new versions of reality by the second. What is true? How close to the truth is it?
I am “the conviction that there are no “good” or “bad” people, no matter how offensive or eccentric to society they may seem. I am confident that if I were born and reared under the same circumstances as any other known humans, I would have behaved much as they have.” – Buckminster Fuller
Take a pause and consider what contexts you hold money, earning it, spending it. How others manage it and use it. Is profit a problem for you in some way. Do ‘nonprofits’ actually operate without a profit? What pays for salaries?
Part II will look more closely at what we see and what we don’t see. Leave a comment. Let me know if I am missing a context.