Adulthood and Bias


Image by Manny Francisco, The Strait Times

They say that to become an adult is through the accumulation of many small sadnesses and frustrating experiences. The breaking of a mechanical pencil while writing, or dropping a spoon on the ground accidentally—they say that it is through these many negative experiences that a child’s sweet innocent mind is dashed upon the stones of society. What a cynical idea—written by adults and accepted by adults. 


It never hurts to keep in mind the opposite side of an argument. Whatever situation you are in, whatever argument you wish to partake in, one must always be sure to consider both sides to make as accurate a judgment as possible. And you say, “Yes, of course. I’ve heard this a thousand times before, I try to do it every day.” I ask you, do you really? It is far easier to stand with your biases arguing for something when everyone around you is demanding the same. Even if it draws other people’s ire, always consider the other perspective.

Perhaps the other side makes you uncomfortable, or perhaps when you even attempt to mention it, others shut it down and alienate you. Perhaps it’s scary to even think about it. That’s no excuse. Try and dismiss your biases, and that of others, and always stay informed about things you don’t agree with. Because only informing yourself with the same information every day is truly dangerous. 

I recognize this is impossible. I realize I am a hypocrite. People are, in themselves, a personality, and what is a personality but not a collection of small biases, of small sadnesses and frustrations? But to truly become a clear-headed person, ironically, you have to dismiss information—dismiss the majority to hear the minority. Don’t discard biases, leave them at the doorstep, and pick them up when you leave. In that way, perhaps anger can be less sudden and violent. 


Indeed, some say being an adult is to have gathered many small frustrations and sadnesses. But it is important not to forget the small joys and loves along the way. One could argue that it is not the negative experiences that built up your adulthood, but the joyful ones. The warmth of laundry right after it’s been laundered, the feeling of nailing the throw of a tissue into a trash can across the room—always consider both, and in that way become a wonderful adult.