Embracing Bias: A Bold Acknowledgment

Sean Zhu / 2024-01-22

When I was just a sprout in elementary school, my big sis once sauntered home with a bootlegged batch of the Brontë sisters’ classics. The texture? Rough as sandpaper. The authenticity? Doubtful as a politician’s promise. With most of the family library already consumed by my insatiable literary appetite, I often found myself leafing through its pages in moments of ennui. Enter Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” - a tome I’m almost certain I failed to grasp even a morsel of, leaving me with little more than a profound impression of its title. To a ten-year-old, those words sounded downright sophisticated, worthy of a boast or two.

It might boggle a few minds to learn that this literary gem was minted a whopping 210 years ago. Paul Graham once quipped, “If you’ve ever delved into the annals of history, you’d know our era ain’t all that special.” Indeed, what we hold as gospel truth today might well appear ludicrous to the generations yet to come.

Sure enough, the current reality seems to have taken a spin back to the days inked in those yellowed pages, with conservatism cropping up left, right, and center. Back in my day, we were spoon-fed the notion that the world was one big, happy global village, and that open collaboration would be the name of the game - One World, One Dream. Yet, the moment we stepped out of our ivory towers and had a chinwag with the real world, it became painfully clear that the halcyon days were but a distant memory.

Let’s face it - humans are wired for bias. It’s the sum total of eons of evolution and the unique tapestry of individual experiences. Acknowledging one’s biases shouldn’t be cause for shame; we’re all card-carrying members of the flawed-human club, after all, stitched together with equal parts emotion and reason.

As much as we’d like to think otherwise, biases are here to stay. Heck, we even get a kick out of them! It’s like our entire being is programmed to take the path of least resistance. When we find ourselves nodding along with our biases, it’s all too easy to think, “Well, ain’t that just the way it’s meant to be?”

The best antidote to bias? Dive headfirst into the unknown - those things you’ve only glimpsed from afar, without ever truly understanding. They worm their way into your psyche through education, media, literature, and the grapevine, staking out prime real estate without so much as a background check.

Curtailing bias won’t magically boost your confidence, but it’ll definitely humble you.

Remember: The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.


Last modified on 2024-05-16