Filters, Blinders, Lenses…

“11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” ~1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (King James Version)

“I put away childish things”

Oh, but I wish we had put away childish things, but instead we drag childish things with us. We color our world with filters, blinders, and lenses we picked up as a child and then add on more as we age. Layer upon layer our sight, understanding, wisdom and relationships are buried under every filter we have carried throughout our journey. “We see though a glass, darkly” instead of viewing with unobstructed vision.

“What is he talking about?” you might wonder. Let me give you a list; an unsorted or prioritized list of filters, lenses, and blinders we gather and unwittingly use in our daily life:

    • Culture
    • Society
    • Stereotype
    • Appearance
    • Gender
    • Beliefs
    • Values
    • Experience
    • Race
    • Country
    • Occupation
    • Employer
    • Limitations (self-imposed and by others)
    • Upbringing
    • Birth order
    • Faith
    • Marital status
    • Parental status
    • Skills
    • Talents
    • Gifts
    • Geography
    • Confirmation bias
    • Filter bubble
    • Inherited rules
    • Unwritten rules
    • Trained rules
    • Education
    • Stories and movies
    • Expectations of self
    • Expectations by others
    • Expectations of others
    • Senses
    • Media
    • Environment
    • Ancestral
    • …and so on.

Whether you agree with me or not, I believe we never “see” anything without being biased or influenced by our filters, blinders, and lenses.

Perhaps a too simple example: an automobile. You notice the interior and exterior color, make, model, year, its appearance, the driver, how it is being driven (fast, slow, tailgating, zipping by you), whether it has any visible off-gassing, dings/dents/scratches, sheen of the wax, any putty work not cleaned up, cleanliness of the inside of the vehicle, broken or non-working lights, bumper stickers, hubcaps, et al. All of this happens in a flash then you categorize it based on your filters, blinders and lenses through which you see the world. If you don’t believe me, observe your thoughts the next time you see a vehicle. Me? I do tend to brand people/cars into rude and uncaring drivers, egotistical drivers, impatient drivers, slower-than-molasses drivers, and considerate drivers (there are subcategories as well ;-)). At one time, I wished people would just drive like me… until I really observed my driving, which changed my mind.

So, it behooves us to pause when we have a kind or knee-jerk reaction to see where it comes from…what filters, blinders and lenses are influencing our reaction.

But even that observation is fraught with its own set of filters, blinders, and lenses… “for now we see through a glass, darkly.”