Many, many years ago I underwent a personal transformation part of which was adopting a pair of circular-lensed, blue tinted spectacles similar to those worn by John Lennon. Of course from that point on, everything I viewed had a blue tinge. I enjoyed seeing the world differently to everyone else and they made me feel cool.
Recently I have begun to assess the metaphysical lens I wear and how it impacts the way I see the world. I realize this impacts everything I perceive and to complicate this the information that I receive is tinted by this lens. In addition I begin to unconsciously screen out that which is not consistent with what the lens is showing me. I begin to behave the way the algorithms of the social networking organizations work – they feed you only that which is consistent with the views you already hold. I can only see that which is “blue”. In this way I begin to assume “reality” is the way I perceive it. My mind becomes closed to alternative perspectives and views.
This danger was exposed during COVID-19. I am fortunate enough to have a friend who became my “bubble partner” for regular walks. He was one of the few people I met consistently through COVID-19 and of course COVID-19. was a matter for discussion each time we met.
At first our views seemed entirely consistent. We feared loss of our individual rights. We thought the pandemic was initially over-stated. As the cases dropped we both thought the authorities were imposing too many restrictions. We thought the media was biased and exaggerated fear and trepidation by announcing cases, deaths and hospitalization on every news broadcast. We both thought it was time to let COVID-19. be treated as nothing more than a severe influenza.
Then as phase 2 took hold last year we began to shift apart. I welcomed vaccines; he, I believe, felt coerced into something he was not sure was necessary. He believed that the key to the future was finding treatments, while I wanted Covid-19 to disappear. He found a lot of informed support for his point of view while I began to resist reading or hearing what he had found.
Then we entered this bizarre summer of 2021 where cases began to increase despite dramatic success with vaccinations. The hospitalizations began to grow; those in intensive care were no longer old people and it was described as a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The concept of vaccine passports were developed. I was all in favour. I agreed with our premier who rejected the idea he was removing people’s rights rather he was granting rights to those who had been vaccinated because they were protecting their fellow citizens.
He on the other hand was horrified that this discriminated against the vulnerable, and that the real solution was finding effective treatments for those infected. Each week we seemed a little further apart. Then it struck me our lenses had become so different. Mine was blue and perhaps his was pink. Each of us seemed to find differing information to support our views.
I heard the anti-vax demonstrations were aggressive, he said they were peaceful. He determined that vitamin D helped prevent COVID-19. but for every paper he quoted I could find one that said the opposite. It was then I realized the danger of not removing my lens to view all the information. If I failed to consider both sides of the argument then I would just feed my preconceptions.
He is a much more diligent researcher than me but his research generally supported his point of view however that did not mean it did not have some relevance or truth. For example the Mayo clinic while questioning Vitamin D effectiveness also states, “In addition, vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, particularly among Hispanic and Black people. These groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19″ (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/expert-answers/coronavirus-and-vitamin-d/faq-20493088”)
Also some reputable authorities claim that the much abused and derided Ivermectin can be an effective counter to COVID-19. in appropriate cases with the right dose. (https://journals.lww.com/americantherapeutics/fulltext/2021/08000/ivermectin_for_prevention_and_treatment_of.7.aspx)
I realize that viewing any situation through my lens restricts my viewpoint. I have learned that we unconsciously feed our own biases and predispositions.
My friend’s diligence has taught me not that he is always right but that I must open my mind to alternative possibilities. We must learn to expand our horizons or we become restricted and limited in our views. As author Craig Lounsbrough so elegantly states:
“If I see only my bias, I have surrendered to a single myopic lens through which to view the world. If I dare to surrender my bias, I will spend the rest of my life seeing the world and throwing away lenses.” – Author: Craig D. Lounsbrough