I listened this morning on the radio to a debate about the proposed changes to junior doctors contracts and pay.
First the minister, Jeremy Hunt, spoke about the intention, what was proposed and why it was needed. Then a junior doctor spoke about concerns, what they perceive is really going on and what was needed.
I don’t know the truth. I don’t know much about the health service. I don’t know what is reality today. I don’t know what will address any concerns and make the future better. I don’t know who is right, who is wrong or indeed if either are.
Yet I noticed my own prejudice appearing. Firstly, politicians aren’t to be trusted, are they? Whereas surely I can trust a doctor? Then, the doctor described how they would lose a third of their income, yet weren’t currently working longer hours than legislation required … “Really? Aren’t you exaggerating for effect?” I thought. Then after each quoted statistics about weekend deaths, different of course, I noticed my mistrust of statistics emerging – “you can make any number say whatever you want”. There was talk of strike action, which fired up my dislike of the concept of unions, who purport to protect workers yet often operate out of lavish premises funded by their members subsidies. And so it continued…
I can’t get to the truth.
Not just because each party is portraying their version of the truth in the media to their own ends, but because, even if that weren’t so, my own prejudice prevents me from seeing and knowing what is. From being clean. From knowing the truth.
How often do we blind ourselves to truth? Whether that be unconscious bias in diversity, judgement based on looks, preconceived boxes we put people, roles, attitudes into? Beliefs about the world which make our map of its workings uniquely distorted to us?
I don’t know what the right thing to do is in the junior doctor debate and I can’t influence an outcome. But I now know more about how much I prevent myself from accessing that awareness, accessing a truth.
I can do something about that.