Insight: Assumptions

"Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision."



The third portal of Insight is Assumptions.


Assumptions are the stories, beliefs, opinions and assessments that we have formed from the past and that we project onto the present and the future. Every Visionmaker knows this material is a trap for vision. As the filmmaker Wim Wenders observed: "The more opinions you have, the less you see."


Visionmakers are far too curious to take the world for granted and at face value. They are constantly striving to overthrow the oppressive filters of convention in order to see the world directly, originally.


When vision becomes fixed on a static set of coordinates, we become lulled into a state of certainty that leads us directly to the status quo. Insight comes from our ability to overturn this conditioning and see for ourselves. 


To gather insight by seeing beyond our assumptions and beliefs, we must slow down. Slowing things down allows us to reflect and examine how and what we see. Visionmakers use The Four Humble Questions to to put the breaks on their certainties and gather insight:


•  "What if how I see this person, situation or event is not right?"


•  "What if the opposite of how I see things is actually right?"


• "What if what I am seeing is only partly right?"


•  "What if it is just right for me and not a shared truth?"


The Four Humble Questions have the power to interrupt patterns of haste, pride and righteousness that interfere with the ability to gain direct insight. Behind our assumptions are worlds of information-context, content, and nuance that remain largely unrecognized and unexplored.


Visionmakers recognize that conventional vision, and what is available to the trained eye, are often worlds apart. As Rabbi Solomon Ibn Gabirol, the 11th Century Spanish poet, philosopher and moralist, suggests, "The question of a wise man is half the answer."


Visionmakers see their that own assumptions are often the barrier to vision. They ask "the questions of a wise man" in service to a higher prize than being right: Insight.


 Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved

Posted on October 7, 2009 and filed under Insight.