Of Paintings, Mirrors and Windows
It’s disturbing how easily some of us, maybe most of us, perhaps even all of us, are manipulated through the use of prophecy: predictions about our future conduct which we refute and then feel bound by our refutation regardless of how meaningless, or worse, how detrimental not engaging in such conduct may be. The practice seems very prevalent within the context of personal relationships. Our pride in seeking to remain true to our refutation overwhelms our common sense. I think this is much truer of men than it is of women but perhaps that’s only because my own experiences in this regard are so glaring.
But it’s not confined to the personal. It’s all too true in the sphere of politics. We use the technique in order to calcify our political leaders’ positions preventing their growth, correction and improvement. We do this through the use of pejoratives such as “inconstancy”, “wishy-washy” and “waffling” when we ought to most admire those who constantly reexamine their positions in view of new facts and actual results in order to correct and improve them. It is the antithesis of the scientific method but reflects the attitude of tradition bound scientists to innovation. We seem to prefer ideological purity to reality.
I frequently use a metaphor when seeking to emphasize the importance of realistic appraisal, urging that we look into real mirrors rather than into beautifully idealized paintings of ourselves, but it’s also true that we need to look out the window from time to time.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2013; all rights reserved