Our Biases Blind Us

What’s the most unreliable testimony in a trial? Eyewitness testimony.

We don’t always see what really happened. We “see” what we think happened. In my latest soccer referee recertification we learned of studies that show at the millisecond level how the time from what we see to registering with the consciousness is long enough to distort our understanding. Maybe the player really was not offside.

Sometimes we take in only that information that reinforces what we already believe. Not consciously. Or cynically. It’s within human nature.

Sometimes we have so much invested in an institution or organization that information contrary to the perpetuation of the organization just doesn’t register consciously.

Perhaps that is why Solomon writes in the Proverbs to seek many counselors. Sometimes we need a group of people to help sort out facts and see what’s really going on.

But that group needs to include “outsiders” because a small group can, and will, exhibit those same biases.

In our life in community whether it be church, non-profit, business, or politics, we need to practice detachment, discernment, and diversity of advisors to keep us grounded.

And the courage to face up to disturbing news and take appropriate actions. Don’t think this applies only to those large organizations making news lately. It applies to you and me in our activities, too.

Most of all, it takes courage.

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