Viewpoints and Books …


Book and Glasses - Morguefile.comThe purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story.”

Stanley Fish

I have often heard some version of the following:

There are always three sides to an argument about the truth:   My side, your side, and the actual reality.

This is most likely very true, and as you add participants, the number of possible “sides” grows.  We are all creations of our culture, our experiences, our beliefs, and our values.

No wonder we cannot all just agree to get along … we cannot even look at something without creating multiple interpretations.   As has often been said, at least by me, “Your terrorist is my freedom fighter”.

Why am I harping on this today?

No special reason, even with the political campaign in full tilt boogie spewing examples over the landscape of how people see the same objective things very differently, very subjectively.

Take a little time to look at this image and think about what it seems to show you.  Cultural Optical Illusion - Opticalillusions.com

We need to keep reminding ourselves that our natural tendency is to view people, things, and events through our personal lens, which sets up us to be influenced by our own biases, fallacious reasoning, and stereotypes … which we all have or experience in abundance.

About the image:  Western eyes usually see a family in a corner of a room with some kind of vegetation visible in the window.  African eyes see the “corner” as a tree and the window becomes a container balanced on a woman’s head.

We see what we are conditioned to see …

Education, especially the reading and discussion of books, can be one of several powerful tools to help us move beyond our own perceptions into the larger world, IF WE pay attention to the following suggestions:

… Choose books written to expand thinking, rather than control knowledge.

… Ensure that books are written in the spirit of discovery and curiosity, rather than the zeal of blind passion and persuasion.

… Select books that contain viewpoints with which we do not already agree.

… Discuss what we read with people that hold varying viewpoints and know how to talk, rather than just convince.

… Remember the sum total of all each of us individually knows is like a single drop of water in the ocean.

… Use what we learn  from books to support our own continued discernment.

… Avoid using what we learn as a weapon to convert others.

Books can be powerful  learning tools or dangerous weapons … as with many things in life, it’s more about how you use something.

Well, I feel a little more prepared to move forward thoughtfully now.  How about you?

Trying not to feel overconfident about my own learning path in the Heartland ….

John

 

Images:

Book and Glasses – morguefile.com

Optical Illusion –  http://www.optical-illusionist.com/category/double-meanings/

 

 

 

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One thought on “Viewpoints and Books …

  1. Pingback: Viewpoints and Books … | #OdinWallace

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