Bias and filters

We probably believe in very different things. Who or what created the earth. What happens when we die. Those are some pretty fundamental beliefs that most of us know we can co-exist with. We have different beliefs about what’s going on around us ALL THE TIME.

We look at the same world through our different biases and filters and what we interpret comes back different. I view our government through a learned filter, an unconscious bias towards distrust based partly on stories of my great-grandfather fighting to return lands they confiscated, suppression policies forced on my nana’s generation, and the state of my governed peoples’ health today. I’ve formed a bias watching the justice system knowingly take away fathers of children they love, deciding today’s penalty for adults is more important than tomorrow’s impact on children. 

I’m also biased towards believing in the science of vaccinations because I had a good experience learning biology, because in my limited experience as a patient in the health system, I was privileged with a good experience, and because of conversations with practitioners of medicine I trust. Vaccines being a good idea line up with things I already believe.

The experiences we have over time affect how we view the world today. Those filters aren’t how everyone else views the world.

The people I know who listen and share kōrero about the Prime Minister being corrupt and paid off by big Pharma, probably hear that through a bias of distrust for government, so it lines up with they already believe. They’re not crazy, that kōrero sits well in their bias.

Others I know are biased towards trust for the government and discount what to them and their filters sound like conspiracy theories. That doesn’t make them sheeple.

We can all be brainwashed to an extent, by our own biases. 

I don’t need to know what you believe about the protests or vaccinations. But we should both know what our biases are when it comes to thinking about this kaupapa, and how they might affect our thinking.

My filters of distrust can unconsciously slip on when I view the government and apply to everything. But I know they’re there, so I try and make sure they don’t affect my interpretation of situations where those past experiences are irrelevant. In my opinion, the likelihood of Jacinda being a child trafficker, or paid by Big Pharma to poison millions, are unrelated to the government’s failings under Te Tiriti, so I acknowledge my bias and think about how I’m thinking.

Protestors aren’t crazy. People wearing masks aren’t weak. We’ve all interpreted the world through our biases, and responded to what came back.

What are your biases? What filters make you view the world the way you do? And how do you make sure those biases don’t steer you wrong?

Being open to re-think our own assumptions is how we adapt and survive in a world that keeps changing. Acknowledging that others have different biases and different interpretations of the world is how we survive together. We already have a bunch of differences, we can live with this one too.

PS understanding the above doesn’t mean accepting anyone acting on their interpretations to cause harm or violence on anyone else. If that’s your whānau, talk to them.

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