Letter: Ignorance often self-inflicted

In The Gospel Of Thomas, Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.”

I took this to mean that if we view life honestly, without the distortions caused by our preconceptions and prejudices, the accurate, true-to-life information we collect will enable us to build a more-accurate, ever-broadening picture that is representative of reality, rather than being an inconsistent jumble of reality and our prejudices.

This concept was demonstrated to me when I was learning to draw with a book titled “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain.”

Having made some typically childish sketches in previous lessons, I encountered a lesson that presented a pencil drawing of a man sitting in an armchair, which was to be the subject of my next exercise.

Interestingly, I was instructed to turn the picture upside down and then attempt to draw it with my own pencil.

When I’d finished, I was amazed at how similar my work looked to the actual drawing. Gone was the childish rendition I had been accustomed to seeing in my work.

The lesson pointed out that turning the picture upside down before attempting to replicate it eliminated my mind’s tendency to attempt to draw “a man sitting in an armchair” and so, instead, I simply drew exactly what I was seeing.

Is this not how we should approach life? Would we not serve ourselves better if we viewed everything we see honestly, without immediately passing judgment or allowing our preconceptions to color our perspective? Would it not be better to simply take things in as they occur and let any hidden patterns reveal themselves of their own accord?

Looked at from the opposite perspective, how much do we limit what we learn about life, when every time we hear something we presume to know what the person is going to say next and either shout them down or shut them out? For instance, how many militant atheists do you suppose stopped reading this letter as soon as they saw that I quoted Jesus?

I suspect that such willful, if natural, human blindness is behind much of humanity’s historical cycle of tragedies. When masses of people are forming firm opinions upon very little accurate information, they make themselves vulnerable to those who would manipulate them for their own selfish purposes.

How many Americans complain that our politics are all “image over substance”?

Isn’t this because it’s much easier to play to people’s egos than it is to actually educate them and make them to think?

Wayne L. Parker

technical writer