21 Feb Maybe They Were Asleep
Earlier this week, just one driveway away from my driveway, a car burst into and was consumed by flames. A fire truck arrived with all the hoses, etc. It was quite a big deal. However, even though I was home and awake, I missed the show. I most likely would never have known about it had not a neighbor called to alert me. Ever since his call I have been wondering how many other things I have missed or miss on a daily basis. I certainly could never have been Sherlock Holmes whose powers of observation excelled. Yesterday afternoon at three when my class was finished it was snowing very hard. I mentioned to my students they needed to drive safely because of the heavy snow, to which, they looked out the window and “oohed” and “ahhed” because they had not noticed. Since it had been snowing for over a half an hour I was pleased that I had them so engaged they had not noticed. But now I am wondering if I was just missing seeing them not engaged but asleep.
It is the same when we read things. Our focus has been trained to notice the ideas and opinions that match those we already have. We also miss the ideas that conflict with our preperceptions or at best we see them and disregard them. To be open, to be willing to recognize what we think comes from a culture and might not be how things really are is a gift we give ourselves. I wish not to see things tomorrow in harmony with what I believe today. I am not conceited enough to think I know all truth and I don’t want to miss more than I have to.
Written by Roger Bothwell on February 21, 2014
Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574