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{A departure from the Myths of the Veritas, this is just some thoughts while making dinner}

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To the best of my ability, this is the view I had when I poaching salmon for dinner tonight and realized I had almost forgotten the mustard. I spied it immediately.

Then, (while using the mustard) I began to ponder a blog post from a few weeks ago on the importance of making sure that you looked for “the whole enchilada.” But just now, I relied on a small number of cues and it all worked out fine. What’s the difference?

The difference is that I am looking in my refrigerator for something that I know I have. Even in a large grocery store, there are a limited number of products in jars. But in my fridge? Very few. And, let’s face it; much of modern life is like this. We spend time at work, at home, at the gym, on our commute and we are on familiar ground. We see familiar things. We talk to familiar people. So, all these little algorithms we develop *work* pretty well most of the time.

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But — they do not work very well at all if applied to *new* situations, or *new* places, or *new* knowledge or *new* people. If I were to find myself looking in the refrigerator in Italy or Malaysia and relied on the exact same cues, it would be far less likely to work!

It isn’t so much that these little algorithms or pattern recognitions don’t work. They don’t. But so what? The problem comes when we *assume* or even *insist* that they still work. Mostly, they don’t. So, when you are in different situations, you need to slow down and search & ask for help & think & test. And, if you do, it’s mostly all OK.

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But if you insist that your knowledge *should* work in situations where it does not…you are going to make yourself uncomfortable much more than you need to.

Quite apart from the unfairness that xenophobia wreaks upon “others”, it is sad to me that it prevents so much that is interesting and wonderful about living in the 21st century. We have this *astounding* and *amazing* opportunity to learn from a thousand cultures and peoples. Instead, we are ignoring them, or destroying them, or sometimes incorporating a useful piece of technology.

Left to their own devices, people from different places, cultures, races, etc. can generally work it out. But if a rabble rouser preys on your feelings of discomfort and helps you focus on it, they destroy that natural accommodation and mutual learning. Of course, they are doing it to gain power over you, and they don’t care that they are blinding you to a cornucopia of possibilities.

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Once the flames of hatred are sufficiently fanned, you will never be able to see that “other” as a human being who is fundamentally just like you, but whose ancestors and cultures learned different skills and customs in order to survive. You will never see all that you can learn from each other. You will never see that you have been manipulated into fearing, and hating, and even killing so that someone else can become richer, or more powerful, or be able to flout laws that they don’t like. And that is a very sad thing.


Myths of the Veritas: Book One

Myths of the Veritas: Book Two

Myths of the Veritas: Diversity as a Testament to Our Success as a Species

The Whole Enchilada 

Author Page on Amazon