Biases, Words, and Humanity

I sometimes fear that myself and the world around me wears a white glove. Knows their boundaries too well, where to filter, what shouldn’t be seen. What frightens me the most about this white glove, is that it conceals any raw, naked sensation of reality; giving a softened, decorated version of our environment. We aren’t aware, or we aren’t aware enough of what surrounds us, what’s behind the curtain, what we’re told we are not supposed to see. The minds inside of this decorated reality have no concept of question, no concept of any other reality; just acceptance for what is and what should be. And of course, as there is commonly one person responsible for presenting an idea, there is only one human that is responsible for shielding a population of other humans behind a fantasy of deceivery, a false perspective, an extremely large riddle.

The secret behind biases, is that they all essentially start with riddles. One person believes that they can persuade another to believe he or she is correct, and therefore gives them a series of strange words that makes their point seemingly override any other point. As no idea is completely original, this perspective has probably derived from another person’s perspective; another person’s usage of words to reach persuasion. I’d like to think of it as a food chain of opinions; our minds and mouths being vessels for these opinions. One thing that is particularly interesting about biases, is that they usually hide behind the purpose to educate;  as teaching experiences that must be delved into a population of brains. When educating with bias,  the masses you are educating may never realize the slant of your perspective. The finesse you have with articulating your opinion can lead to others believing it is fact; the result of a sly play on words.  The best kind of riddles are those that no one ever realizes are riddles.

A man like Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, had lots of fun with riddles. They were all that he could speak in. He was a Harry Houdini of words. He used a single idea, articulated it quite nicely, shared it with few people, who then shared it with more people, who then shared it with an entire population. This resulted in a movement, which then resulted in a political party; teaching a brand new mindset to a plethora of brand new minds. This idea then develops into worldview and demands to be practiced. I compare him to Houdini, as an act like this is very similar to a magic trick. Painting a picture with certain colors, making it as though you’ve used every color. Hide all the ugly bits and decorate the pretty, interesting things. Use certain vocabulary and literary tools as smoke and mirrors, deceive those around you by making every angle of your sentences appear perfect. It is the creating of an exaggerated illusion, making a distorted reality; a hyperbole for the eyes. In Goebbels’ speech, “Knowledge and Propaganda,”  he states that “An idea always lives in individuals. It seeks an individual to transmit its great intellectual force.” You can only truly have fun with your medium of idea presenting when you realize how much power you can have. I believe that the most vital thing we do as human beings is communicate, and the most vital tool we have for communication is words. Goebbels knew precisely the kind of power he possessed with his words, and conducted miniature magic tricks with them;  a pile of sophisticated riddles, persuading a mass of people to unify in discrimination against all Jews. Adolf Hitler so very closely had the capability to rule an entire continent, merely with his words. 6 million Jews, and 6 million non Jews were killed because of his words. He made everyone around him, in front of him, and beneath him hate, simply with words.

Now, whenever if I educate myself on Nazism, The Holocaust, or World War II, how can I evaluate their viewpoints and behaviors as someone who aspires to be an observer of all perspectives? How can I eliminate my pre-existing biases, and reason with my reflective biases? I would think the only way in which one could possibly reflect upon such evil acts and mass destruction of humanity is to evaluate the humanity. It was not merely a story, or a blood stain on a European atlas. However, almost all wars and monumental tragedies are taught in ways in which they’re completely non-humanized. It is a pure history, concealing the raw sensation of its personalism; like a white glove, making it impossible to touch. It is a pile paragraphs experienced by many authors, written by only one. How can different perspectives be acknowledged, if something is told in only one perspective?

I, of course, have many pre-existing biases and blind spots that I encounter on a daily basis, most of the time unintentionally. One of these, that I believe is absolutely vital for me to be aware of, is my lack of experiences. I have no idea what it’s like to need something I cannot have, I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my life, and I’ve never had to prove my bravery to anyone. All three of these are the most human experiences of those who have lived, breathed, and bled through World War II. I cannot reach out and touch their experiences if they do not reach out and touch me. What good is it if I’m too book smart, and can only learn from words alone? Wouldn’t my mind be absorbing a decorated illusion as opposed to a raw truth? Wouldn’t my mind learn to interpret a decorated illusion as a raw truth?

Every single person in this world has a set of biases; if they did not, they would not be alive, or fully engaged in life. We all form biases from things we hear, things that are said, opinions that seem justifiable, through a series of many words and riddles. The only way in which we can acknowledge and eliminate these biases is if we find the humanity in them, search for their imperfections, accept their ugly traits. It is much easier to say that all who kill, discriminate, and hate are evil; it is much harder to say they are human beings, that they are one of us. It is much easier to paint ourselves and our environment as an attractive deceivery, as opposed to revealing its naked reality. It is much easier to use our words as shields to protect others from what they do not want to hear or see.  What we must all do is wipe the dust from certain corners of our pupils and see the imperfect angles of everything. Biases cannot ever fully be eliminated, but our world would be so much healthier if there was more acceptance and awareness to everything inside and around it.

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