Back in the nineteenth century, the horse and buggy era, people would place a special device on the head of a cart horse to prevent it from looking to the left or the right. This device was to assure that the horse only looked at the road. It was called a blinder.

The blinders that a horse wore are easy to see. Unfortunately we all seem to wear blinders. These come from our background, our genetics and our environment. These cause us to ignore or not to be aware of or to be unable to process information we encounter.

Some of the most insidious blinders are cultural. We often refer to these as bigotry. None of us are free from these cultural biases. For example, if a team of PhD scientists cannot find a reasonable answer to a problem, then the problem is unsolvable.

During the early days of the space age a rocket assembly was being transported to Florida. Along the way it got stuck under a viaduct. The scientists and engineers came. They suggested several options, each was expensive and risky.

There was a car in the traffic jam caused missile’s predicament. A little boy leaned out the window, turned to his father and said “why don’t they just let the air out of the tires?”

The scientists and engineers were stunned. It was too simple and none of them had thought of it. When the air was let out of the tires of the truck the missile passed easily under the viaduct.

The chemical companies have blinded us to any none medical cure. Physical Therapy, massage, nutrition and other complementary practices have always had a following. They are being employed more and more often by hospitals and other cost conscious health organizations. At the same time they are under attack by the designer chemical companies, as is anything that endangers their profits.

The blinders being installed are ever more subtle, as are the methods of deploying them. One of the techniques we have seen for years is the misuse of statistics. If a competitor is successful 25% of the time and the drug is successful 25% of the time then the drug company reports that the competition has no effect 75% of the time while their product improves the situation 25% of the time.

One company came out with a new version of their product. The main reason for the new version was that the old version had been out so long that it could now be sold as a generic drug. The new version is, according to them, 20% more effective for one group of users. What they do not mention is that that group is less than 2% of the people who use the product. That means that 99.6% of the users will receive no benefit from the new version. Yet most of the doctors continue to recommend the name brand, at more than ten times the cost of the generic drugs.

Doctor recommended, that is another of the blinders they love to use. Have you ever wondered how they know that 90% of the doctors recommend their product, or why the doctors recommend their product? One method that they use is to send clients to the doctors with a symptom. When the doctor gives the client a free sample they record that as a recommendation. To make sure it goes their way they send their representatives to the doctors’ offices the day before they send the clients. The representatives leave boxes of free samples.

The most insidious blinders are the knowledge gained from “they” or “everyone”. If you have had children you have heard this a number of times. The children justify what they want to do the child says “well everyone is doing it” or that “they say that this is right.” Of course when asked who “they” are or to name some of “everyone” the children go blank.

Remember, they said that the world was flat. Everyone knows that cheese left in a cupboard turns into a mouse. Blinders cause all of us to limit what we do and what we accomplish. We will always have blinders. If we are aware that blinders exist we can compensate for them. If we know about our blinders we can see those in others and understand how they process information.

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