We all have it. It’s a Psych 101 term for our tendency to gravitate to things that confirm our position while skipping information that could contradict it. Pass caught on the goal line during a football game, half the crowd screams Touchdown, the other shouts Incomplete. We see what we want to see. This has to do with heuristics, presuppositions, worldview mechanisms, stuff like that. It means we tend to enter a situation with plenty of stuff already decided: we sort of know what we’re gonna find before we start to dig.
What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are. – C.S. LEWIS
An old friend made a passing comment the other day, implying the religious elements in my novel were vague, nothing overt. Like hash brownies, I laced my book with spiritual principles. Oddly enough, when I was submitting the novel to agents/publishers, one editor refused it on the basis of its “definite worldview statement.” When pressed for clarification, he admitted he didn’t like all the Christianity in it. Some (see earlier post) only see violence and language.
What to do? Nothing. Robertson Davies said “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” While I’m prepared to shoulder the burden of honing my craft and clear communication, I have zero control over how someone else processes my work. Someone once said we must cater to people’s intellectual integrity but we shouldn’t pander to their intellectual arrogance. Seems a fair balance to me.