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Bias can alter the way we see the world because it our personal conceptions that determine how we understand the world around us. Everyone has pre-conceived notions about things, whether they be positive or negative. A lot of it also depends on how we were raised and what part of the world we live in.
Bias is like a prism through which one views the world. Bias can be positive or negative. An example of bias in my own thinking is that I am a registered Democrat voter. When I watch the news or read a newspaper, I view current events through the prism of being a Democrat. It literally colors my views. If I am watching CNN and a Republican commentator is speaking, I tend to discount that person's comments because I am on the opposite side of the political fence. Being aware of one’s own biases can help to prevent them from inordinately affecting one’s interpretations.
The reality behind bias is that it is as inescapable as our shadow. Our subjective experiences hold a direct impact on how we perceive the world. Objectivity is difficult, if not impossible, because it presumes a transcendent quality that allows us to move past ourselves, which is logically impossible. Bias is not something that has to pin us down, crushing us beneath its inevitability. Rather, it is something for us to understand and to accept. It is not something to be subjugated or repressed, as it is a part of our condition and our identity. Yet, rather we must seek to understand its role and its function in helping us see the world. When we are able to do that, we can place it in its proper context and not seek to remove both it and the indivisible component of us it represents.
Biases change everything. I am glad you bring this point up.
We know things through our historical context, social context and personal experiences. So, our knowledge of everything is highly individual and we can even say unique. These are our biases. The implications of this are huge. Let me just go into a few of them.
1. We lack objectivity. Whatever situation we examine or study will be through our biases - some of these biases we know and acknowledge, other we have no idea about. What is true for us is also true for others. All people suffer from this type of myopia. For example, what is self-evident to us is not self-evident to a person is Egypt or Istanbul. These, too, are biases - cultural ones.
2. Another implication is that we should acknowledge of biases or try to acknowledge them. This is a step in the direction of being a more sophisticated interpreter of all things.
3. We should also try to have friendships with others to learn from them and so that they can learn from us.
Finally, I will include some links that touch upon social theories.
Whenever we see or hear anything that requires interpretation our biases affect the way we interpret those things.
For example, think about the way you would perceive an argument between a teacher and a student. If you liked the teacher and not the student, you would probably be more likely to think that the argument was the student's fault.
When looking at the world as a whole, our biases are important as well. Think about, for example, the disuputes between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Who is at fault in these disputes? It's totally a matter of opinion and your opinions are likely to be affected by your biases towards one or the other of these groups.
Whenever we interpret the world, our biases at least have an impact on what end up thinking.
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