A short and stocky chap stood in front of the train carriage door as I made my way home last night. I noticed under his beany his (badly) dyed red hair, yet his ginger beard and his very pale arms proved he was probably a natural a ging-er to begin with. He was speaking with the speed of light to another young chap about what sounded like gaming stuff (beyond me). I sat down to see this conversation was being watched (open mouthed) by a proper ginger. The quality of his vacant stare either indicating he was joining in the conversation in his head, or that if you stood close to him you could hear the ocean.
I remembered a comment my classmate made about us all being in our own little worlds, which I automatically do – especially on the tube. Stopping myself to notice the play happening in front of me, I couldn’t help but add assumptions and labels to my fellow passengers.
Thinking about the circular thoughts we spoke of in class that night – I made an observation that they were rather like an organ grinder standing on the kerb turning his organ handle to generate his ever repetitive music, and the captivated monkey compelled to dance. Whilst most of us tend to identify with the monkey, a slave to the tune, we should probably spend more time focusing on the grinder himself, since he is the one making the music.
We all have pre conceived notions, we all have judgements. It’s how our brains have engineered our survival through the ages, but we should not allow them to control or dominate our responses or attitudes without giving our present situation or company a fair chance. We are not obliged to dance to the same tune. I couldn’t get the image of a capuchin monkey wearing a tiny fez doing back flips out of my head and a small smile fluttered across my face. It made me wonder what my fellow commuters may assume about me.
I think the first step to openness is to not judge oneself, especially within the assumed parameters with which we label others. At the end of the day, what do we really know?
As Voltaire said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”