Take a look at the picture to the right. Do you see the green and the blue spirals? Amazingly, they are both the same color. (For a detailed explanation read this article in Discover Magazine.)
This optical illusion, which shows how our mind uses neighboring colors to make inferences about other colors, is a wonderful metaphor for how many of us — myself included — often mistakenly make inferences about people based on associations rather than people's true characteristics.
For example, in a recent exercise, Joshua Bell, one of the world's greatest classical concert violinists, dressed in blue jeans and played in the tunnel of a Metro (i.e. subway) station in Washington, D.C. Not surprisingly, not a single person stopped to listen to him. That same evening, however, thousands of people were willing to spend hundreds of dollars to hear him play.
My point is that all too often we fail to see or appreciate true beauty — or truth, if you will — because we are blinded by our environment. It is something we will all need to unlearn if we wish to see the world not as we see it — but as it really is.