Simplifying is an essential skill for survival, for the need to “pursue interest and avoid harm”. At a time when potential threats lurk and decisions need to be made quickly, simplification is necessary for spotting the greatest risks and opportunities.
This need has evolved and become very sophisticated and intricate. We need to understand and relate to the world around us in order to determine the role we play and what we need to do. This is crucial for making our existence meaningful. We cannot afford to constantly get lost in complexity or operate in the unknown. A simple solution is to assign a box to represent a category. Each box has its own label. For example, people from a certain country are cold and inhuman. This way we know where everything fits and in which box to go when we need to find something. This solution satisfies the false self’s need for certainty.
However, reality is far from the simplicity this solution presents. This over-simplified reality may not even reflect a fraction of the true reality, that is, totality. Instead, this solution creates stereotypes of all sorts. Think about what stereotypes you hold towards people? Have you wondered how they came about? Perhaps the first impression you got? Perhaps the information you were exposed to? How do they get reinforced? Apart from the pattern of over-generalization, are there other patterns involved? Perhaps fixed expectations? Polarized thinking? Avoiding and hiding? Seeking maximal certainty? Being judgmental? Stubbornness?
What is the problem with stereotyping people? When we do that, we are judging them unconsciously. As we project our own ideas onto them, we are sending information to them. What if you belong to a group of people who are subject to very negative stereotyping? You will be receiving negative information all the time regardless of what you are truly like as a person. Imagine receiving this kind of information from the very beginning of your life, day in and day out? How would this affect your self-identification and self-identity?
Stereotyping used as a tactic to create division and separation is nothing new. With the “help” of the pattern of over-generalization, success is almost guaranteed. The consequences can go far beyond personal damage when this tactic is used against people of another culture, another religion, another race, another ethnicity, or another country. Stereotyping a particular group of people so badly, even to the extent of demonizing and dehumanizing, can breed hatred. This is how enemies are successfully created and hostile actions against them are justified.
Stereotyping is a game the false self plays. When we relate to others from our true hearts and True Self, we see their true hearts and true nature. There will be no boxes to fit people into. We see them for who they truly are. Stereotyping would seem so boring and labelling would simply be wrong. Your heart and True Self can see so much more than meets the eye. Over-generalization is unnecessary when your light shines on something and its truth just naturally comes to you. It comes to you through your connection. There will be no unfair judgments passed, no harm, no division, only mutually-beneficial unification. This is where true peace and harmony for the world begins.
Experience this message on Transforming Over Generalization as a meditation on REN XUE TV