"You don't need a Weather Man to know which way the wind blows."
Bob Dylan was likely referring to the countercultural radicals, not TV meteorologists. But either way, his lyric above from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" has even wider applicability in our current age of alternative facts than it did in the turbulent 1960's. As such, I submit this is Dylan at his aphoristic best, the lyric of his that might live the longest. With the thousands of lines Bobby has unleashed on the world, I hope a few readers - especially Dylan fans - will make some alternative suggestions.
How much do the "Weather Men" in your life shape your views? If there is another mental exercise that has occupied more of my reflecting, I can't say what it is. When reading or listening I'm acutely aware of my biases. That doesn't mean I transcend them very often. Based on years of teaching the subject, I also know how each of us work harder to confirm our biases than we do to upend them. We seek out information that reinforces our views, often unconsciously, and also screen out whatever doesn't conform to our already constructed mental models. What are your strategies for escaping this human trap?
"So, after checking with others, it remains the responsibility of each individual to sift through the received wisdom, insofar as possible, and decide what's worth holding on to." That sentence, from Barbara Ehrenreich's brilliant 2009 book "Bright Sided" is one of the best I've read in recent years to help me fight the "Weather Man" embedded in my brain. Unfortunately, Ehrenreich goes on to add this caveat. "This can require the courage of a Galileo, the iconoclasm of a Darwin or Freud, the diligence of a homicide detective." Shit.