Arogant Human Ignorance

A core part of the human experience is; we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s like the young child who covers their eye’s and thinks they are invisible. If something exists beyond our imagination then to us it doesn’t exist.

Humans as individuals and humans as a herd don’t like change. An individual can know something but if the herd doesn’t know it or the herd rejects it then watch out, there will be trouble. A herd of humans creates a culture, cultures are an expert, and extremely effective at establishing and maintaining rule and culture knowledge norms. These social norms don’t change without significant pain.

I had an epiphany yesterday. I had to go to the hospital again, for my allergies and the doctor enlightened me. Unintentionally I’m sure, but still I learned something. Humans not only get stuck in what they know, but they also get stuck in how they do something. I read a very cool article recently that talks about the limitations of our imagination or our thinking as our solution horizon. Our solution horizon is the limits of the things that we have available to consider when thinking about a solution for a given problem. A culture solution horizon has nothing to do with fact, or the knowledge of members in a culture. Just look back at history and the people who had to die for “humans” to accept that the world is round, or the earth isn’t the center of the universe.

The whole notion of a solution horizon is only a start, extending the thinking. Not only do we have a limit, our solution horizon, on thinking. Humans have a limit on how to do things a solution framework for getting things done. Add the cultural dimension and you add a context that is essentially ridged and unable to adapt and change.

Its consternating to me that the people I work with have this “concern” that a blind person can’t do what they do. I have had a good career and I’ve had the opportunity to do some cool work. I hope to continue to have a good career and continue to do cool work. This is the first time in my life that I am encountering people who can’t accept a successful capable blind person. Their solution horizon doesn’t account for a blind person having a level of success and an ability to contribute. Whats worse is their solution framework doesn’t account for the fact that there are many ways to skin a cat. I’ve encountered organizations and groups often in my life that can’t get their head un-inserted from their waste output orifice to even consider that the way it’s done might not be a good thing.

As a person with a disability I don’t have much choice in life, I either choose to find a way to live or I don’t. All of us have a choice, to either choose to find a way to do something or accept the limitation of not doing it. To me, the things we decide not to try to do are our greatest handicap. The way I find to get things done is very different from the accepted norm. My logistics, my way of living working and contributing account for my needs imposed by my disability. When I am stonewalled by an organization I have to decide is it worth the paycheck and the aggravation or is it time to get a new job, or do a new thing. Most of the time I choose to move on, religious wars with a culture are generally a one way ticket to disenfranchisement, isolate, getting fired, or worse.

For the first time, I’ve been able to separate the issues in a way that provides an interesting view into the problem of arrogant human ignorance:

  • First do you accept your own uniqueness as a person and how you as a person lives your life?
  • Second if you are disabled or different do you accept you own disability or what makes you different. The effect of being different or disabled on you, your view of the world. Plus the effect the effect of being different or disabled has on how you do things, your logistics, or how you live your life.
  • Third how about the people you are interacting with? Do they accept how you’re different or disabled? Do they accept your logistics for living?
  • Finally, what about the culture you are attempting to interact with? Do they accept your differences and disability? Does the culture accept your logistics?

More often then not if there is a misalignment of acceptance of your differences or disability it’s better to cut and run. Or know that ultimately you’re going to have to cut and run. I’ve had relationships where my disability becomes an issue, guess what I’m no longer in that relationship. I’ve had several jobs where there is misalignment and funny thing I’m not in that job any more either.

However, I’ve had relationships where everything is in alignment and its heaven, very sad when it changed or ended but during that time of total alignment, absolute heaven. I look at my second marriage this way, and I look at my positions at Microsoft Canada this way. Professionally I’ve never had so much impact as when I was in total alignment with my manager and the organization I was working with, at the time Microsoft. During that time, I doubled my salary with performance bonuses and received the Bill Gates Global quality award. It was a blast, and I miss it.

You’ll have to pardon the pun, but I don’t like to go through life making choices blindly. I much prefer to be able to apply context to a situation. To better understand the consequences and risks and rewards of a decision. Consequences can be good and bad, but it’s nice to go into a situation with, again pardon the pun, your eyes open. There is nothing worse than discovering that you didn’t know what you had till its gone. Yet again there is nothing better than getting out of a bad situation. There is something to be said for getting out of Dodge. With a caveat, it’s not a good thing to cut and run because you’re not willing to grow and deal with an issue, don’t bother it will catch you in the end and it will be far worse. Things have a way of growing out proportion; it can get messy

Take a look at the following table. I’ve completed the table based on my personal experience. Apply it to yourself see what happens.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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