I saw a Facebook post this week of an eagle standing on ice and looking down. Its reflection was there, and at first glance I thought the bird of prey was eying its image. But I kept looking and decided its gaze might be focused not on the reflection, but into the ice below. I guessed the creature was looking for fish, but then I figured, an eagle wouldn’t waste its time with something it couldn’t access to eat.
Then when I looked online to learn how eagles respond to ice and how ice impacts their feeding habits, I discovered I was perhaps the only person in the country who didn't know this photo has become the subject of political reflection and comment. The takeaway: I need to start watching the news again.
My uneducated series of guesses points ups the different views people, or one person, can have when looking at a photo, an issue, or anything or anyone else.
It has taken generations for people to realize a first look is worthless at best and dangerous at worst. Some people still haven’t learned that. Our mind wants to fill in the jigsaw puzzle, that's biology and psychology. I avoided taking biology at Morse High School by taking earth science at Bath Junior High, when it was Bath Junior High and ninth grade was there. But I picked up some via my graduate studies in education. And it helped me understand human nature better than I did.
Like judging a book by its cover, it’s best to resist the inclination and redirect it: Harness it for curiosity that compels you to open the book. Introduce yourself to that person, study that issue or that culture or nation, or that species.
There might be more than meets the eye.