gods, vermin, insects & me

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer,┬áto treat
everything as if it were a nail.” Abraham Maslow

Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized.
Benjamin Haydon

Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!

Carl Jung

What persuades men and women to mistake each other from time to time for gods or vermin is ideology. One can understand well enough how human beings may struggle and murder for good material reasons — reasons connected, for instance, with their physical survival. It is much harder to grasp how they may come to do so in the name of something as apparently abstract as ideas. Yet ideas are what men and women live by, and will occasionally die for. Terry Eagleton

By “nationalism” I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled “good” or “bad.” But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. … By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. George Orwell, “Notes on Nationalism” 1945, link to entire essay

I have been thinking about bias a lot lately. Or “point of view.” Specifically I have been thinking about journalistic bias. It is so obvious to me that the more diluted forms of journalistic thought (tv, bad radio) exhibit a bald bias that makes their reports suspect.

Harder to determine is the bias in sources one respects and presumably agrees with.

I approach the New York Times as the best American news source. It continues to boggle my mind when intelligent people I know prefer the Wall Street Journal to it.

I have read good and bad journalism in both papers. But of late I have found the Wall Street Journal to be more reactionary and provincial. But I think I am getting more critical of people who seem to reduce life to its monetary aspects.

The only bias one really need struggle with is one’s own. Others biases are obvious to the observer who is paying any attention at all.

In fact the process of maturing is continually examining one’s biases and deciding if they really reflect one’s conscious intentions.

In addition these days even reasonable sounding sources need to be examined for their starting assumptions. Easily done with the Internet at your fingertips.

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0 thoughts on “gods, vermin, insects & me

  1. I understand the issue. I am biased and I understand my bias. It is made from experience, knowledge and maturity. I have changed my views as conditions have changed. No one source of information is enough to make it “knowledge”. A validation process must occur and each of us assess through our own bias. Everyone has a bias even the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The issue is for the individual to use “thoughtful consideration and factual assessment” to determine belief. I do not think that any one source of information is validation of knowledge or belief.
    You have your biases as do I. I may disagree with someones point of view, as they may disagree with mine, but the society that we live in has freedom of expression which I contend makes us a better society. It is with civility that we interact and understand the other point of view.

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