“I don’t know who discovered water,
but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.”
~ Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980),
media critic & writer
Actually, fish would be the last creatures to discover water, simply because they know nothing else. They know no other reality so there’s nothing to compare it to.
So, too, we are the last to discover our assumptions about reality because we are so immersed in them. We need someone with a different perspective, a different world view, to point out the things we take for granted, those things we see as “givens” or “unquestioned norms,” which in other cultures vary tremendously. This is one very real value of diversity.
We do not understand what we do not know. We cannot comprehend “unknown unknowns.” I find traveling allows me to experience differently, then return home to see my old world with new eyes.
How do you uncover your blind spots?
Get out of your normal habitat, read periodicals or books you disagree with, talk to people you do not normally speak with, ask provocative, open-ended questions and then really listen to the answers.
One technique I use when I run into an opinion I disagree with is, first, I assume the person is sane and rational. Then I ask myself, what must this person believe to be true about the world in order to come to this conclusion? This mental experiment has opened up my mind and taken my point of view to some interesting places.