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Stephen Mayo | Seeing What's There

Seeing What's There

Sept. 27, 2020

"Look for what’s there, not what you want to be there.”

          - Sherlock Holmes* in the film Enola Holmes (2020)


It's a powerful tool, the gift of sight. 

It's an even more powerful thing, to be able to observe clearly what's in front of us, rather than seeing what we want to see.

A colleague has seemed distant lately, so you ask if anything is wrong. "No, I'm fine".  Phew. Awkward conversation avoided.  I'm glad I was mistaken, you conclude.

The computer simulation is generating results that are surprisingly favorable to your point of view.  You could do a thorough check of the calculations, but hey, it's probably correct, right?

It's convenient in the short term to see what we want to see.  But it's not a very effective strategy for getting the results we want, because the truth usually surfaces sooner or later.  It's more useful to be able to see what's actually there, as unpleasant as it may be in the moment.



I imagine some people may object to the fact that I have chosen a line from Sherlock (a male) in a film that is centered on the growth and transformation of a female heroine, Enola.  My intent is not to minimize her story or make judgments about her abilities.  This line simply spoke to me in a meaningful way. If you think my perspective is misguided, I hope you will tell me, in order to help clear up any issues with my eyesight.

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