Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Your Mind is a Filing Cabinet
Humans are afraid of the unknown. This is an undeniable fact when considering the entirety of the race, and we humans will do anything we can to combat our fears. One major strategy our brain uses to keep itself alive is to learn from its mistakes; this is common among many animals. Animals can be conditioned to associate event A with event B, and humans are no different. We seek to condition ourselves for our survival, in fact.
If the iron was hot when we touched it last, we are far more likely to take our previous experience and apply it to our current environment. We will probably not touch the iron without prior caution. We also take the accounts of our fellow humans and apply them to ourselves; it is simply the smartest way to survive in this sense. Unfortunately, we can also be negatively affected by our personal sorting for survival and our community’s sorting, especially.
Plato’s republic sorted its people into classes, and a millennia later we sort those we see into classes based on their appearance, their accents, and their actions. We do it to keep ourselves, and those we care about, as safe as possible. ‘Should we find anything objectionable with attitudinally sorting in one’s own thinking?’ I believe that as long as we do it appropriately and intelligently, we can make use of our instincts for the common good.
Children do not have bias due to skin color or gender, but as they grow they may adopt certain mindsets depending on the environment in which the child was raised. It is the environment’s fault for this, and we should take responsibility. If we accept that the woman on the bus, regardless of her appearance or accent or actions, may not fit all the criteria we have established in our internal file folders, we can improve our society and ourselves. We need to respect our instincts, then respectfully remind them that they are not always accurate.