Everyday numerous ideas hit me when I observe the world and myself. I like some of these ideas and don’t like some. I don’t like ideas which make me uncomfortable. For e.g. I like the idea “Ranjith is smart” and dislike the idea “Ranjith is a jerk”. Ideas make me uncomfortable for various reasons – they make me look bad, they challenge my existing ideas, they make my group look bad (ethnic group, race, country), they make me feel inferior etc. For a long time I ignored such uncomfortable ideas. It was an easy choice. But eventually I realised that these ideas are important in understanding the world (and myself).
A great way to understand any system is by simply observing it. For example, to understand a car I observe its moving parts and see how they work together. Similarly, to understand the world I observe the behaviour of people. But it is not easy to objectively observe people (or myself). When I observe a car, I am open to all observations. But when I observe people, I filter out uncomfortable observations. This filter blocks my understanding. So I consciously try to remove this filter to better understand the world and myself.