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prejudice

How To Think Out Of The Box

thinkingoutoftheboxSometimes we don’t just pass judgments on people too quickly, we do the same with information.  I have been reading (please forgive me men as I usually skip looking at the hunting books) interior decorating books lately.  With three of them although I initially wasn’t too much interested in the topics they covered and even after I  looked them over and I still was not was not too inspired, I found that after I looked at the pictures and read the text included about them that I took away some good ideas I could use in decorating in the future.  One that I particularly found uninviting was a book on “green” decorating and they (as far as I was concerned) took it to extremes.  One of the things I did learn from that book was what to look for in quality furniture or fabrics that would last and would not have to be replaced in the near future or perhaps in any one person’s lifetime.

This involves thinking out of the box and it is easily missed because we often focus on information about things we like and not on things we don’t like.  We often think that most of the material on stuff that we are not interested in will be useless; but we often miss information that is covered that could be useful to us; but that we either think will not be covered in that treatment of the topic or we reject out of hand because it is associated with stuff we dislike or disapprove off.  We tend to generalize and if one thing we dislike is associated with something, we may reject everything associated with it.  This is one of the problems with prejudice.  One bad experience with a certain religious organization or cultural group can lead to a person rejecting the whole organization or group and even anything associated with them.

applevalleyTo think out of the box, do the following.  Please take a closer or more thorough look at things before tarring everything associated with it with the same brush.  Take for example, visiting foreign countries can be seen by some people as a trying experience because so many things will be unfamiliar and an acquired taste.  Be a little bold.  Try a taste of something.  Visit a different climate or explore a different landscape.  I was surprisingly very impressed when I visited Apple Valley in the desert east of Los Angles, California.  I didn’t go to see the desert.  In fact, I was worried about the snakes there and I was not excited about eating only vegetarian food during my stay there.  I went because I wanted to attend a workshop being offered there.  I thought I had landed on the moon when I looked out over the desert and saw the horizon in the distance to be so very far away.

Here is how to think out of the box.  Take a chance try different things, learn about different things, go to different places and you might find something that you might have missed otherwise by staying with the comfortable and the familiar.

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History? Truth or Fiction Part Two

Social Theory of International Politics

When I first was in school, I thought that history was cut and dried.  It was a subject that involved memorization of the “facts” presented.  It was not until I learned to think for myself that I began to realize that there may be more than one way to interpret a certain set of facts and even later I realized that important information can be left out.  A current example of this would be that of the two opposing political camps supporting the candidates for president different takes on often the same sets of information.  Also they may choose to focus on different sets of “facts”.

Often a country’s government may prefer one view of an historical event over another and, if they have any control of the media, may present a very biased point of view.  This is  very true of some very totalitarian governments in our world today.   In these cases, not only current news is censored; but also often historical accounts.   Usually we call this propaganda.  It happens anytime when one one group’s point of view is either left out or misrepresented.  Not only governments can do this, but also experts on some academic subject or proponents of some scientific or social theory.

This is where psychology fits in.  How we make up our minds and view the world is very important in effecting how we behave.  Psychology is the science of human behavior.  Psychology should study all the important variables effecting behavior, not just those supporting one particular theory. It is important to also be aware that psychologists usually design their experiments to account for any type of bias that they can anticipate. Recently psychologists have been acknowledging the effect that observing (and measuring) a variable can have on the results found.

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Negative Thoughts are Like Mosquitoes

Your Childs Self Esteem

Your Childs Self Esteem (Photo credit: ouvyt)

Negative thoughts swarm around you taking bites out of your confidence and self-esteem and preventing you from achieving success.  Thoughts like: “What makes you think people will like that?”  “Money is evil.”   “There is someone out there doing that already.  What makes you think you can do it too?”  “You’re not that smart or talented.”  It could go on for ever.  Where does it come from?  It comes from the unconscious where it hides until it comes out when it can do you the most harm.

We are born with little or no knowledge about ourselves and abilities so we often believe and incorporate into our identity the things that people tell us about ourselves such as,  “If you keep on doing that you are going to end up in jail,”  “Guys don’t make passes at gals who wear glasses,”  or “You’ll never learn to read (or swim or get married).”  “You’ll never get higher than a “B” in college,” which was one of mine, and I never got lower than a “B” in college.

What we think that we know about our world, other people,  many groups, and different religions etc. comes from what  we are exposed to as a child.  We may develop prejudices because of this.  This is opening an old womb; but what was said about African Americans before civil rights were established?  or even the Japanese Americans until after  World War II.   Negative thoughts like these  buzzing around in our heads prevent  us from being successful in our interaction with and understanding of others.

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