By Mohau Khupa
Often, we come from a place of bias. Have you ever felt like events should have unfolded differently? I have. Being indifferent to our bias does not make us less biased, if anything, it makes us less open to new perspectives. So glad you’re reading this.
Walking home recently I met a young lady, whom I had a brief conversation with. A minute in our conversation I popped the most biased question ever. I asked her whether she likes men. Open as I was to the idea that she could be attracted to only women, I explored first the idea that she likes men. I was looking out for myself – I was biased.
Sometimes we just have to look no further than our bias to explain why we’re devastated by unfolding events. In the extreme, we can burn the city down foolishly, as is happening in Kwazulu-Natal. There are many reasons why the people over there are being chaotic, but above all, they had expected the fate of Mr. Jacob Zuma to be different.
It can be very hard for a biased man to appreciate growth. However it’s almost impossible to embrace growth for a biased man who does not recognise their bias. I have not always known better, until one time I got the feedback from my then examiner who condemned my style of writing to be the exact replica of somebody else’s. That was just too evolved a style of writing for a student, according to my examiner. I had copied and pasted! That couldn’t have been any further from the truth.
I was mad for a short while. Mad at myself for not writing like a typical student and mad at my lecturer for not trusting me to write as impressively as I did, even if I say so myself. I quickly snapped out of it. It had dawned on me that, that was way bigger than my fragile ego. The student had become the master, something my examiner’s bias couldn’t fathom.
However, biased is exactly how we need to be sometimes. Going to the fruits market to get some apples, there are endless possibilities. It’s possible that the fruits market is closed, at worst, and at best, open but running out of apples. More often than not, we do not entertain the possibility that the store might be closed but instead fix our minds on the possibility that it is open and it has got what we want. We even go as far as seeing that to be already true – true, we insist on being biased. There is absolutely no shame in that. There’s no shame in entertaining only what we want. Think about it; is it not hypocritical entertaining it yet you do not want it? I would rather only focus on what I want.
Maybe I am biased to think that we wouldn’t be so biased as to think that life is hard if we concerned ourselves more with the goodness of life. Life is hard – it’s painful, right? Maybe it’s not and we just have our bias misplaced, or maybe it is but it’s not all that. Either way we can be biased and see only the goodness or we can recognise our bias, eliminate it and explore all avenues of life.
I will not even try to put it better than Ted Msipa who emphasised in one article that sometimes glory comes in an overall called pain and you might see the pain and miss the glory. So what’s better? Miss one or the other? Or none?