How to See People for Who They Really Are

A friend of mine was recently called in for jury duty and got into a pretty good row with a lawyer. He was questioning her to determine if she would be an acceptable juror for the trial. This was one of his burning questions: “Is it more likely for a child or an adult to lie?”

My friend, being a very discerning individual replied: “I can’t answer that question, because some adults lie and some don’t and some children lie and some don’t. Whether you lie or not doesn’t have to do with your age.”

A Lady Justice statue

The lawyer was not amused and asked her several more times to answer the question as stated and she reiterated several more times that lying has nothing to do with age, but has to do with a person’s character.

I found this whole thing incredibly interesting. This lawyer wanted my friend to make a generalization about two groups of people rather than allow her to judge the case by the individuals concerned. And when she refused to agree that older people or younger people were liars, he not only got annoyed, he determined that she would not be fit to decide the guilt or innocence of his client. In other words, because she didn’t have a preconceived idea, he didn’t want her on the jury.

If even the members of a family don’t all come out the same, despite living together for years, how could all the members of a group be the same?

A similar question would be, “Would it be more likely for a man to lie or for a woman to lie?” Or perhaps, “Would it be more likely for a white person to lie or a black person to lie?” “Would it be more likely for a religious person to lie or an atheist?” These questions are not capable of being answered with any degree of truth because they presuppose that all members of a group are the same.

Now, I myself have been a member of many groups and the one thing I know with absolute certainty is that no two members of any group are identical. I know Scientologists who are conservative and I know Scientologists who are liberal. I know Scientologists who love football and some who could care less. I even have a Scientologist friend who doesn’t like chocolate. Imagine that!

World map with pins in it

Take your own family. I bet that you have ideological differences so wide in your family circle that you could drive a train through the gap. I know my family members’ ideas are all over the map and if they were actually put on a map, we wouldn’t even live on the same continents.

If even the members of a family don’t all come out the same, despite living together for years, how could all the members of a group be the same?

When you actually accept that we are all individuals, you might start seeing people for who they really are. And beware the news media who love to make sweeping generalizations about this group or that. They are the ones dividing us.

Down deep, all but the truly antisocial are pretty good people. Every member of every religion that I have ever met tries to improve things. We all live in the same world and we need to calm down, band together and make it better. And I’m pretty sure there are lots and lots of people out there who could contribute to that alongside you if you’d just get over your preconceived ideas about who you think they are.

Deanne Macdonald
Business consultant and student of life.