07 April, 2011

Perception In All Senses

This semester I am taking Anthropology, British Literature Before 1830, Critical Introduction to Literature, Math 1010 and American Social Dance. At times I feel that my brain will never adjust to which class I am attending because I have such a variety of subjects to focus on. Keep in mind that I never took a liking to education growing up but learned an appreciation for it later in life. So if you've taken more credit hours than I am currently taking, be gentle to my petty intellect. I'm improving.
I have noticed a common theme among all of my classes. Everything relies on the perception of the experience. You can sit back and watch the news or a documentary and believe that you truly understand the natives of another country at war. You can study in class and you can even go directly to the culture and study their ways yourself but this will never mean that you are the right person to interpret that culture. Only the people themselves can tell their own story. The only thing we can do is give our interpretation according to what we saw, heard, touched, smelled and tasted. Because we are so influenced by what our own society judges to be normal, our interpretation of another's culture will never be correct.
I cannot claim to understand what it means to be homosexual and I cannot understand what it means to be Catholic. I can give you my interpretation of what they are and the reasons why I support certain causes. Are my opinions subject to change? Yes. I went from believing in gun control, to not believing in gun control to expressing my reluctance to own a gun, to just leaving the subject be. I went from thinking that Homosexuality was the destruction of the family, to I don't hate you but I still don't think you should get married, to let them be but stay away from me, to confused, to why do I think I am any better than they? to they are people with wants and desires and deserve what I have, to we are no different, we all just want to be loved and not have to fake it for the rest of society. My views on abortion have not changed much but are less extreme believing in the review of ever case. I went from environmentalists are crazy people who want to enslave us by making us live in T-pees to global climate change is a hoax, to even if you don't believe in it there is no reason to trash the world, to woah, the oceans are getting warmer, the ice caps are melting, we have more sporadic weather and all this at an excelled rate than has happened in the past. It is good to have a change in attitude and I hope I continue to change.
It is what I have seen, experience first hand that makes me feel this way. I know there are many of you who do not agree and maybe you have had different experiences than I have. If you can let me know what those are maybe I can try to see things from your angle and make different judgments. If I offend you, let me know why and maybe I can feel and understand what makes me offend you. That's all for now.

8 comments:

Alene said...

sweet so are you reading Clifford Geertz? that man is the bomb. You have never quite bonded with someone until you have run from the cops with them : )

Alene said...

sweet, so are you reading Clifford Geertz? you have never quite bonded with someone until you have run from the cops with them huh? : )

Cap said...

Great post! I feel the same. A lot of my views have changed over the last... oh, five or six years. I think it is important that we allow our selves to change. I think it is important to be open to learning new things or understanding things in a different way. I feel the same on a lot of the issues of today as you do, and it just goes to show that two people with pretty different basic belief's (namely religion) can feel the same on so many different topics.

Which goes back to not being able to fully understand a culture. It's the self and other comparison. The other affects the self, yet the self cannot be fully like the other or else it would not be the self. (At least not a true self). You have to take these experiences and use them and learn from them, but when it comes down to it, you cannot be those experiences, only change from them.

(By the way, if you can take afternoon classes there is a self and other class at 4).

Jeffrey Dean Root said...

Actually I was reading "Tales of a Shamans Apprentice." I'm also reading, in my spare time, Carl Sagans, "Cosmos." Talk about a fascinating book. Although I am not religious and barely spiritual, his words give me hope. Really I think that the most important thing in life is to live and have experiences. I usually buy things that will help me remember those experiences. Mandi bought me a Camera for my birthday this year. It's been a real pleasure to experiment with it and I can't wait to bring it on our future trips. Although our Europe trip was scrubbed this year, we will have a second shot at it next spring. We may be going to Italy and Spain. I've always wanted to see the remnants of the Roman Empire more than anything! Maybe I will.

Natalie Ainge said...

That is a totally profound post, Jeff. I feel like the most intelligent person is the one who is worried more about being "correct" instead of "right". Which means, being open to having your opinions changed as new facts and evidence is presented to you. I've gone through a similar transformation in the past few years. I think education has a lot to do with it. It's easier to make up your mind about things when you have the facts and research to back it up. We live in shades of grey most of the time, it's a good thing we have logic to muddle through it. GREAT post!

Jeffrey Dean Root said...

I also want to add that just because you've been to college does not mean that you are any better than the next man. That is not to say that college is a waste. I don't think I could ever be as well rounded as I am now without my college experience. In my classes I am required to read all kinds of texts and opinions that I never would have desired to read. When we buy a book to read, usually it's because the book's subject matter is to our liking. EX: Al Gores "An Inconvenient Truth" or Glenn Becks "An Inconvenient Book." I don't think I would have ever crossed over to read books contrary to my political and moral upbringing if it were not for college. We develop our opinions so young and hold fast to them that it is difficult to approach new ideas when we enter the world. You never want to feel like a traitor to your family ideals and you want to stay close. Sometimes your experiences with those ideals are different and you feel contrary to those around you. Belief is a strong thing and you will always stand up for what you feel is right. Talking about it openly instead of shying away is one of the best ways to spread more ideas around. It is how we come to agreements or at least compromises. It is how we keep ourselves together.

Anonymous said...

I try to see things the way they are. Sometimes it's hard for people to see past political parties. I use to consider myself as pretty liberal a long time ago. Most of my friends had that influence on me. Now I think most of them are full of shit. Not liberals just people who choose a side. Political parties are religions in and of themselves. If more and more people thought the way you do Jeff we would have no need for parties. There are things I beleive in that you may never beleive but the great thing is we also have things we both agree on and that is what makes us progress. My ideas keep changing as well. You have convinced me that women are still second to men in the work force. I have never experienced it in the two places I have worked yet because of the work policies enforced. You are right. You can't know something until you have experienced it. You can't fully understand a culture until you have lived with it for a long time. I wonder what people in the future will think or teach about our culture in the future. I have thought about this before and I think it's amusing.

Jeffrey Dean Root said...

Now that I've been on the side of both political extremes, I feel like I need to see the good rather than the bad that I got out of both sides. I need to do the same thing with science and religion. They both have attributes that can help the world be a better place. Once again it will have to do with my point of view based on my experiences. As always, if one thing is good to someone it will almost certainly be bad to someone else. For this we have Atheists, Agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and many other ideas. What a great world we live in! I wish we could take the best of all of these ideas.