Why are we prejudiced?

“When someone solidifies and embraces opinion more than love – possibilities diminish – the possibility of understanding diminishes most of all.” Chris Manvell

Prejudice is an integral part of modern life, sadly, we cannot escape it. The least we can do is notice it. We can first notice it in ourselves; we always start there. We cannot possibly understand it by pointing out the prejudice of others. Only when we see our own prejudice can we recognise it elsewhere. It is like mining for diamonds, they don’t look like the one in the jeweller’s shop. Only when we know what a rough diamond looks like will we have a chance of finding one in the ground.

The word prejudice is from Latin praejudicium, from prae ‘in advance’ + judicium ‘judgment’. Why are we inclined to judge in advance? Is it laziness? Do we not have enough energy to explore all the options before forming opinions? Or is it fear? It could be fear because when we don’t know enough about something we feel we can’t support ourselves. It is as if the ground falls out from beneath our feet. A quick judgment gives us something to stand on; like the gold medal winner standing on the podium. Chris Manvell so beautifully continues, “‘I am more right than you’, as if that were even possible. That we should leave each other without companionship, without a hand to hold for our own reflection.”

This is the truth of our prejudice; we unconsciously prevent any exploration for the truth. Why? Because we are afraid of the truth, understandably so, truth can be frightening because it is often the opposite of what we believe to be true. If we are to explore truth we need a hand to hold, we need companionship, and most of all we need openness. This openness occurs when we open our soul and let our spirit shine in – reaching up like a flower to the sun. Prejudice is the sign of a solidified soul hiding from the light not realising that the ground beneath the feet is really quicksand.

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