Do we ever really know everything about someone? Do we take the time to get to know them – or just accept the surface we see as all there is to them?
I’ve long thought we allow our assumptions about someone’s behaviour, actions, words etc to form perceptions about them without questioning what evidence we have to back this up. That doesn’t sound too fair does it?
Prince Philip is a case in point. How many formed an opinion about this individual without ever speaking to him? Taking what was reported by the press as fact? How would we feel if we were judged the same way?
As humans, we tend to judge others on their actions but ourselves on our intentions.
We make assumptions about others actions without considering what their intentions were. Does this sound fair? To me, it doesn’t. I’d hope people would check their perceptions of my intentions on any action I do was factually correct by asking me. Of course, those in the public eye can’t be approached to ask BUT we can check our thoughts and make sure we have evidence to back these thoughts up. If we don’t, shouldn’t we keep a non-judgemental open mind?
What has surprised me is the lack of coverage during Prince Philip’s lifetime of his achievements away from his ‘job’. Across different media since his death, we have learned a little more.
Amongst the nuggets of information revealed about him, was he painted and wrote 14 books. Trying to find a list of these books, I came across the 1984 publication of ‘Men Machines & Sacred Cows’ – hardback copies on Amazon for over £69 – a leap I suspect to what a copy would have cost prior to the prince’s death. This book is a collection of works focussing on science, technology and design.
The following exert is from Huffington Post’s coverage – and, for me, captures an insight to the character of Prince Philip especially his dry humour – in his own words from Men Machines & Sacred Cows…..
“Some optimists tend to assume that once you have learned the lesson that horses bite at one end and kick at the other, there is nothing further to worry about. No such luck, I’m afraid.
“The horse is a great leveller and anyone who is concerned about his dignity would be well advised to keep away from horses.
“Apart from many other embarrassments there is, for instance, no more ridiculous sight than a horse performing its natural functions with someone in full dress uniform mounted on its back.”
According to a piece in the Sunday broadsheets, Prince Philip started a truffle farm on the Sandringham Estate in 2006 and was reportedly the first person to successfully grow French Perigord black truffles from British soil! Apparently, this is a big deal especially to truffle aficionados. It’s impressive to me trying to grow some chillis and squash indoors!
Various charities and individuals have spoken about how Prince Philip kept in touch with them, showing an interest in their progression long after his retirement from public life from Dame Floella Benjamin to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre shows me an integrity and empathy not shown in any press reporting prior to his death.
Talk about hidden depths.
So what thoughts has the death of Prince Philip exposed for me?
- Our perceptions about someone/something should be based on factual evidence not gossip, social media etc.
- If we can’t find the evidence to determine if our perceptions are correct, we should keep a neutral, open mind.
- Above all, it should be remembered everyone has hidden depths