One Road Leads to Rome

It’s far easier to observe bias in other people than in ourselves. Remember, only other people have accents, right? Your point of view is the “normal” one, and everyone else deviates from it somehow, obviously. We see other people as “extreme” or “fringe,” as if we were standing in the middle of some big circle that actually has edges.

Now look, the Overton Window is real and all, but you’re not in the dead center of the opening. And when you observe someone else and decide that they’re “radical,” always keep in mind that your primary basis for that opinion is how they interact with you.

If someone is very stand-offish in every interaction you have with them, you might think, “gee, that person is a big jerk.” But it could be that they just don’t like you. And maybe they don’t like you because you’re a big jerk. If the only road from your hometown goes to Rome, it’s easy to say “all roads lead to Rome.” But that’s way more of a function of you than of the international highway system.

This is really, really hard to internalize. We don’t see ourselves in the third person while simultaneously holding the greater world in our minds. We have our base frame of reference and we rely on it to operate.

But stick your head up, now and then. Especially when you’re forming an opinion of someone else. What you think is an objective observation of that person’s relationship to normalcy is actually their subjective relationship to you.

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