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A limited perception creates a limited reality and its consequences

Paraphrasing Ortega y Gasset, we could say “I am I and my consequences,” that is, those consequences, frequently unknown and unrecognized, of living in a limited reality created by our own limiting thoughts. Even worse, we assume that’s the whole reality and then we want everything and everybody to adjust to “our” reality.

A recent incident at Colorado State university in Fort Collins is a good example of that situation. (The incident lead to positive changes at CSU.)

During a campus tour for prospective students, the mother of one of those students called campus police to report two young people who, she said, were not part of the group, yet joined the group and were acting in a strange way. According to the woman, one of the students was Mexican. Police came, stopped the two persons and questioned them.

It was soon discovered that everything the woman said was false. The two persons were indeed part of the tour. They were late after traveling seven hours by car to arrive at CSU. They didn’t know what to expect because it was their first time on campus. And they were not Mexican, but Native Americans from New Mexico.

I have not doubts about what happened that day: the woman (whose identity remains unknown) saw two young man dressed in a way not “normal” for her, acting a way not “normal” for her, and not answering the questions in a “normal” way for her and she did what every “normal” person will do: she called the police.

She never saw the two brothers were from a family with limited resources and they just wanted to go to college. She never thought not everybody is ready or willing to answer those questions you have to answer at the beginning of the tour, that is, those “icebreakers” when you have to talk about your favorite food or animals. (By the way, I don’t like those questions either.)

So, there was no crime about to be committed. It just two young man being at the right place to do what they wanted to do. But they were not like the “others”, so the “others” decided to call the police. That’s the way many universities treat us. I will not say anything else about that.

In his book The Song of the Bird, Anthony De Mello tells the story about two young devils who, walking on earth, found a piece of truth on the ground. On the devils thought it was proper to bury the piece of truth, but the other one, older and wiser, thought otherwise. One day, he said, a human will find the piece of truth and he/she will assume that’s the complete truth.

To believe that “my” truth is “the” truth is not only a clear indication of narcissism and living inside an echo-chamber, buy also of immaturity. In a globalized and interconnected world, assuming there is only one way of living and thinking, ours, is an inexcusable expression of aggressive ignorance.

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