Christopher Owens, lead singer of the band Girls, wore pajama bottoms during a show he did in San Francisco. A critic saw it as evidence that Owens is a self-indulgent hipster. “Just another spoiled, entitled, trust-fund kid,” he said, “whose excessively privileged life has given him the delusion that he’s uninhibited.” With a little research, he would have uncovered the truth: Owens was raised in an abusive religious cult by a single mother who worked as a prostitute to put food on the table. This reminds me of the importance of keeping an open mind.
Digital culture has made us all critics on some level. And it’s a dangerous seduction. I share this story in hopes it will inspire you to avoid making any assumptions about anyone. As we begin the work of rebuilding our economy and society for a new era, it’s crucial that we bring a beginner’s mind to our evaluations of other human beings. Otherwise, we’ll lack the compassion that is at the beating heart of good judgment.
I’ve embarked on a major new piece of research. Can you tell?