Implicit bias is a term used to describe subconscious feelings/attitudes which can influence our behavior. They are subconscious because we may not be aware they even exist; I.E. inherent discomfort around homosexuals, racial bigotry, etc. Because they are implicit, and cannot be easily identified, they are very difficult to correct.
In a description on the Ohio State University website, the following is expressed:
The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
This states that despite the fact we might openly and consciously have a developed viewpoint contrary to our implicit bias, that we may still hold subconscious feelings to the contrary. So while I may say “I am not racist” and while in my conscious mind I firmly believe that, there may be an unconscious element to my perspective which is inherently racist, and which was formed through influences in my life without my active knowledge of how they came to manifest.
In a debate with conservative Ben Shapiro and Yale students, he discusses this topic and how trying to find a way to solve the issue of implicit bias, should it exist, is like hunting a “ghost of a ghost.” Since it is subconscious, it is impossible in a sense to influence or change it, because it can’t be identified in the first place. Shapiro states that negative thoughts manifest in us all the time, but that we don’t always act on them. This claim was met with some reservation.
This reservation in my opinion is a very dangerous path to tread because the mere implication that we are in complete control of all of our thoughts in feelings, once again like I have expressed many times, is suggestive of a current theme; that we are better than what we actually are. That we are in complete and total control even of our subconscious mind should we choose to be. And this eventually leads us to the state of hubris which would state that “I am in control of everything in my perspective universe, ergo, I am God.”
Daily we are plagued by evil thoughts. Hourly. Perhaps by the minute. It’s not that everyone is a murderer on the verge of committing some terrible act; these thoughts can manifest in many small ways. A slight pull of temptation when passing another person who is attractive. A moment of frustration in the bank line at a slow teller. A moment of road rage when being cut off. Most of the time, human beings have the faculties at their disposal to control their own behavior so that they don’t instantly react to these evil inclinations. Because it is the way we act that manifests our character upon the world around us, and not the way we think. If thought was equal to action, what a bizarre world this would be indeed.
Of course people are arrogant, and they want the ability and the power to police negative thought. They are starting to believe that our thoughts themselves need constant correcting, and more vainly, that we actually have the ability to do this. The intellect is a sponge of course; it is very easy to be thrown off course. God gave us the intellect to perceive the world, and to enact our free will. But it is a curse as much as it is a blessing, as many of the dualities of nature are. Our intellect can also be our biggest hurdle in the acceptance of His love and salvation. But it is not a disposable thing that we would be better off without, because it also has the power to strengthen our understanding, and to share His word with others, to engage in our vocations, and to appreciate the intricacy and beauty of His Kingdom.
We have evil thoughts because we are the stuff of Adam. Because the Evil One manifests within our lives in many forms which we cannot perceive. But as our free will allows us to deny God, so too does it allow us to act or not act, through the power of God’s Grace.
Matthew 6:22 – The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your body will be full of light.
The way we perceive the world influences the thoughts within us. Not long before I experienced the salvation of Christ, I looked upon the world through a blackened eye. I saw the negativity, the way the culture had manifested evil upon the Earth, and I feared, deeply, that my children would be corrupt and torn to pieces by it as I felt I had been. In just a few months, my whole perspective has changed. I see both good and evil on this Earth, and I know of its source, and I understand that one is greater than the other, and that one can prevail. What we take in from the world, we put back out into it.
In short, our actions influence our being. Despite the dark moments of our lives, when evil, hopeless thoughts manifest within us, how we act is the true mirror of who we are, or what our potential is. And these actions, all of these actions, occur within us due to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. If the good, charitable actions we do are a result of God, then the constant chatter of our thoughts are easily corrupted by the Evil One. This is why through the Word of God, we are shown how to act, how to behave, and why the atheist notion of a natural biologically inclination toward “good” (which nihilists redefine all the time to suit their own agenda depending on what sinful action they wish to partake in that day) is an arrogant absurdity.
Going back to charity, the action of charity comes through God then, if this is true. Because most human beings are not inherently capable of true altruism — it is always in some way influenced by their biological tendency for self-preservation. I would argue that it is only through the Grace of God that true, sacrificial charity can be manifested in its purest possible form. That no matter how much we try, without the God’s intervention, or charitable acts could only be self-serving. We jump in front of a bullet for someone else out of love or honor, but perhaps it is also because we couldn’t bear the shame of not doing such a duty, or couldn’t bear the loss of a loved one due to how it would affect us? But we do act, we do sacrifice, we do good through the Grace of God, regardless of our mind often trying (and succeeding) to convince us to do otherwise.
So how we act is paramount. That is how we move within the physical space around us. Through worship, prayer, and the Word of God, we can “clean up” or thoughts to a degree, because we can at the very least know what is objectively good, what ethics and morals are absolute and not defined by the current social structure of today, which is inherently malleable and corruptible, and meant to suit man’s fallen nature, and not to uphold the Glory of God. But ultimately, our actions reveal to the world who we are. A man with deviant sexual feelings is not an offender until his thoughts are made manifest. A woman full of anger is not a misery to others if she does not allow this anger to cause her to explode into a fit of rage.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.