“We see and understand things not as they are but as we are. ” Discuss this claim in relation to at least two ways of knowing. Many things we see and understand can be affected by the society we live in, the beliefs we have, and our perceptions of the world. What I am going to try and do in this essay is discuss whether we see things and understand things not as they are, but as we are. In this essay, I will discuss several external factors which affect people and, therefore, interfere with of way of seeing and understanding. There are several issues to be discussed which can affect the way human beings understand and see hings.
There are sociologists, like David ‰mile Durkheim, who state that “society is supreme over the individual”. By saying this he wants to show us the power the society exerts on the individual. This may lead to a change in perception, and the way the individual will see and understand things. There are several ways of knowing, there is a short term P E A R L (Perception, Emotion, Reason, Language). Therefore, the society the individual lives on, the language he speaks, and cultural habits involving religion, will definitely affect the way the individual understand things.
We see several issues in this modern world which can prove my statement above. As some of you may know, Israel and Palestine have been in conflict for more than one century now. The individuals living in both societies, even though they are very close to each other (in terms of distance), the way they see and understand things are very different, very far away from each other. A individual raised inside Israel will probably have the same beliefs the others in the society do, and therefore would protect the cause of Israel against Palestine. As David ‰mile Durkheim, famous French sociologist says, “society is supreme over the individual”.
This same situation happening with the individual in Israel will also happen, despite differently, with the individual in Palestine. This individual in Palestine will probably believe his god is Allah, and that the Israelis are intruders into their territory. This clearly shows us that due to their difference in cultural backgrounds, and beliefs, creates 2 very distinct ways of seeing and understanding things, which in this case ended up in a conflict which have already resulted in the deaths of over 110 000 people, which is the same umber of people living in Charleston (US).
In this situation the distinct way of seeing and understanding things have generated this war, however there are others situation where people try to understand the others way of understanding in harmony. It is also possible to have different ways of seeing and understanding things inside the same country. As we can see, in Brazil there are over 67 tribes, in which they speak their own language, and practice their own rituals. It is certain that the vast majority of these Indians don’t share the same beliefs as the people living in he big cities (e. g. Rio de Janeiro).
The Brazilian society as a whole accept these ditterences, and there is no contlict in between them, only in some separate cases dealing with territory utility, or other specific reason. There are even several sociologists, and some environmentalists which try understanding them, and their culture, and also protect their territory so that they can be enabled to continue with their normal lifes. However this relationship with the native Braszilian tribes has not always been like this, from 1500 to 1900 it is estipulated that over 200 000 natives ave been killed.
In early years there were little access to ways of knowledge, and communication was very difficult. These could be one of the factors determining on this occupation. What I wanted to show by using this Brazilian tribes example, was that the difference in ways of seeing and understanding things don’t necessarily cause conflict. The natives share distinct perception from the world, they practice an extremely unique method which varies from tribe to tribe, and therefore they would see certain things we see as normal, with other eyes.
For example: when there is rain, ome tribes, like the Tupi’s, believe it is an offer from god so that they can raise some more crops. Meanwhile and individual from the city would see it as a normal thing, as a natural element from the precipitation cycle. Culture and religion is known for distorting our visual perception. This is, seeing things not as they are, but as we are. They affect directly on the formation of the individuals, and build them up in order to believe in their own way.
Plato, a very famous philosopher, student of Socrates which was born in Greece, developed an allegory, known as The Cave. Plato imagined individuals living in an underground cave, with their legs and neck chained so that they could not move. Behind them was a fire, which would reflect them on the opposite wall of the cave. Puppet players would play with their puppets on front of the fire, so that the shadows created by it were reflected on the wall.
The people passing through the cave entrance talking would generate an echo which the individuals living on the cave would believe were coming from the shadows on the wall. Until one day, one prisoner is taken off the cave, and shown the real world, he hen realizes that all the things he believed were actually illusions, and weren’t true. When the prisoner who was set free returned to the cave to tell the other about the truth, they didn’t believed him, and killed him because they felt offended. Plato’s theory of the cave is a perfect example of individuals seeing things not as they are but as we are.
It shows the impact of the society, which would blindly believe those shadows were true, and would refuse to open their mind, as if they were formed by it. Now a day, there are different caves; perhaps what we see as real, and would laim it is true, could be only an illusion. Therefore, as a conclusion we can see that by Joining up the three example given, we can say that the individual are extremely affected by the society they live on, the religious beliefs they have, and therefore the individual will not see things as they are but as they are.
The formation of the individuals is extremely affected by these exteriors factors which will certainly distort their image of what is real and what isn’t. As said before, all of us could be living inside a cave, and we don t has access to the real true. Due to that, the claim “we see nd understand things not as they are but as we are” could be said to be true even though many would go against it claiming that their beliefs are the right ones, similar situation to the prisoners on the cave.
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