Monday, December 13, 2010

Questions On Perception

"In the light, where do shadows hide?" - Orson Scott Card, on the title page of one of my sister's friends' copies of Pathfinder

We all live on the same planet, right? In the same universe? The same stuff happens in my universe as it does in your universe.
Then why do we all have such different perceptions of it?

Some people hate the world.
Some like the world but don't think it matters much.
Some people think our country sucks and all of civilization is headed down the tubes.
Some people are filled with happiness at the thought of the future.

I listen to my dad rant, and then I'm filled with anger towards the government, towards religion, and towards that driver who won't speed up after cutting us off.
I watch the vlogbrothers, or read articles by Cory Doctorow, and I am filled with optimism and love for the human race. 
Then I hear about people starving after floods in Pakistan, or the Koreas bombing each other, and I feel nothing but despair.
I think about my own personal future, and I am filled with anxiety. There's so much I don't know. So much that will change between now and when I graduate from college. How can I plan for that when I can't even predict...anything?

And if we all live on the same planet, why does everyone feel so differently about...everything?

When it comes to politics, its not that Republicans are wrong and Democrats are right (or the other way around). It's that both groups have opinions as to what is important and how we can better the country, and those opinions are different.

Again: If we all live on the same planet, why don't they agree? It's the same world, with the same people, and the same events.

This sounds like a plea for peace and giving into each other just for the sake of ending the arguments. It's not. I'm simply wondering.

And speaking of Cory Doctorow, here's an article that I read today, and loved:


  1. I agree with you for the most part but about politics the main issue facing the country today is not that people have different values, it's that people have different facts.

    If we are to have a discussion in this country or in this world about anything there have to be base facts that we agree on. And if X is true and you know that X is true and someone is saying Y is true you shouldn't really give their opinion equal weight.

    Also we currently live in a society right now where debate and discussion and compromise don't really happen anymore. I am a proud liberal but I also see the need to compromise and work with others who might not agree with me on everything. And I would be overjoyed if the liberals and the conservatives got together and had a substantive conversation.

    Politics has always been a blood sport but governing shouldn't be. Right now the minority leader in the Senate, who came very close to becoming the majority leader, says that his party's first goal is to make Obama a one term president. Sarah Palin said that her party should not only be the party of no, but(and please pardon my language) but they should be the party of hell no.

    This country has serious problems and it is time for everyone to get over themselves and start trying to fix it. I mean they voted down a bill to give 9/11 First responders health care because they want tax cuts for the rich. Every bill basically gets filibustered. One does not run countries this way.(and don't even get me started on Fox News or the Tea Parties or Sarah Palin)

    So, in conclusion, politics in this country right now is not about two different sets of values competing it is about two different groups of people competing and they are holding the country hostage. We all need to take a deep breath and start talking again. Because I am sure that both sides will see that the other side has some fair points to make.

  2. I don't know if the world will ever be 100%

    but there's a quote in Hebrew that goes "לא עליך המלאכה לגמור, ולא אתה בן חורין להבטל ממנה"
    --It isn't your responsibility to /finish/ the improvement of the world, but you are never free to give up on trying.

    I try to live like that as much as possible. I know that I'm just one person, and one person who wants peace can't do much, but I may as well do something.

    I feel like when people don't have enough hope for the world, they stop trying, and that just creates a downward spiral. As long as there are some people out there doing more good than bad, there's still hope.

    Oh, and also, extremism is our worst enemy. Differing opinions are okay, different truths are okay. Extremism is the enemy.

  3. @Gabbi I totally agree with you about people not having enough hope. It's like the Folk-Punk singer songwriter Billy Bragg says "Our enemy really isn't capitalism, it's cynicism. That's one the things I learned from Woody (Guthrie)... Not to be cynical... That cynicism... It destroys you, it rots you away from the inside. So that sense of optimism and humanity... which 20 years ago I would have called socialism but now I'll call compassion... You know, that idea is still out there and alive and if you can plug into that and encourage that it makes it all worth while"


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