Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Being Human is so Hard . .

Yesterday, at the Lord of the Winds Kiteboarding, Windsurfing contest here in Los Barriles I was walking past the rider's meeting when I overheard someone say, "It's too bad they don't know how to do this."

Trying not to make a snap judgement myself, I walked on by. Over the course of the day, however, I started thinking about humans. We seem to have such a limited view out of the windows of our eyes. On top of that, the little bit of information our brain seems to receive from all of our senses is strongly colored by filters.

After three days of watching the competitors, the committees and volunteers put on an awe inspiring event, a true extravaganza for Los Barriles, I was jarred by these words my ears transmitted to my brain. I did glance at the person, and he seemed not to be one of the competitors, but rather a spectator with his family. But, what can a person really tell in a glance huh?

Why is it human to use our limited view on the world and make judgements about things? I know that by publishing this blog, I am certainly not going to solve this problem for anyone. However, it is a human problem and appears in every part of our lives.

I am a tracker, or at least I like to think I am one. I have been studying animal and human tracking for almost 20 years. I am still learning. One of the things you learn as a tracker, after many years, is that things are not what they seem because our brains try and trick us. You see, the way I figure it, if you have lived to any age of relative wisdom, your mental hard drive is pretty full. (That's why you can't remember names) So your old helpful brain likes to label things and made snap decisions without enough information to save you some thinking effort.

The good news is that if you slow down just a little, and try to pay more attention, you can learn to gather more information. For instance, if you are in a cafe and someone serves you coffee, look at the person. Who knows, perhaps your server is someone who has climbed the North Face of the Eiger and if you look at them you might see something astounding. That is particularly true here in Baja. We are surrounded here by very interesting, experienced, exciting and endlessly fascinating people.

The race committee and the volunteers for the Lord of the Winds contest had enough experience and knowledge to fill several books. It would take a week, at least, to find out what they had all done, where they had been and what they knew . . and that would be just for the race committee.

The comment overheard might have been about something else, who knows, but it did make me wonder how many short sighted judgements I make in a day.

We all do it. I guess this is my way of saying to the Lord of the Winds contest . . WAY to GO. You pulled off another wonderful event in style!

Who am I? Hi, my name is Linda Jo Hunter, author of "Lonesome for Bears, A Woman's Journey in the Tracks of the Wilderness", Lyons Press 2008. The book is about four summer seasons of guiding in Alaska at a remote lodge where we took folks out to see Alaskan Brown Bears eating salmon and living in the wild. I am also a plein air oil painting artist and the co-founder of the International Society of Professional Trackers. I will be commenting on this blog from time to time about Baja stuff. Look for some Baja animal tracks and photos soon.
I welcome comments, by the way, about anything.

If that made you curious you can look at my webpage: www.strumminbear.com

1 comment:

Lianne Downey said...

I love this post, Linda Jo! I think I should print it & stick it up somewhere on a wall where I can remember it. Snap judgments--they really cheat us out of a good part of life, don't they?