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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Perception Deception

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Perception Deception Prompt: "We see and understand things not as they are but as we are." Discuss this claim in relation to the novel, your own experience, and at least two ways of knowing. "Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our sense from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind" (James, 1842-1910). In the words of philosopher William James, myself, and this essay prompt, all that humans perceive is altered by the beliefs and biases that constitute their identities. Not only is what we choose to believe greatly influenced by our characters and choices, but it is impossible not to be slightly biased at times. Bias and prejudice is irrational, and would fall into the category of emotional intuition, or irrational instinctive knowing. Nevertheless, what to be biased about varies from person to person, and that is why intuition and perception are considered the more fallacious ways of knowing; because they are so subjective. Christopher John Francis Boone, the protagonist in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and myself are no exceptions to this statement, as they way we describe occurrences, people, and objects are completely different, and once you know each of us, it is evident that we are completely different people. Christopher and myself are examples of how human understanding is varied from person to person due to the differences in each psychological makeup that influences both perception and emotion, and how often one relies on either one. ...read more.


This preference might be irrational, and that is how emotions are ways of knowing. Emotion is also a human way of knowing that is highly subjective and can be shaped by beliefs: "a change in our beliefs can lead to a change in the corresponding emotion. For example, if you enter a badly lit cellar and see a snake in the corner, you will probably be frightened. But if, when you look more closely, you discover that it is not a snake but a coiled rope, your fear will vanish. A change in your beliefs has led to a change in your emotions" (van de Lagemaat 150). Emotion is strongly connected to perception: Our perception of things can be colored by strong emotions, and there is doubtless some truth in sayings like 'love is blind' and fear has many eyes'. Such emotional coloring can make us aware of some aspects of reality to the exclusion of others. If, for example, you are in love with someone you are likely to be blind to their faults; whereas if you loathe them you are likely to see only their faults (van de Lagemaat 151). Christopher Boone, most of the time, does not feel any emotion. That is because, once again, he is autistic and has an extremely rational mind which leans so far towards reason that it has no place for intuition. Such can be seen in his dispassionate style of stating things, feeling no emotion for the "fact" that his mother died, and inability to love. ...read more.


I would have done it if this random intuition had not stopped me. Similarly, Christopher's intuitions are also highly relative: "[He doesn't like] Bananas [because they are yellow] (bananas also turn brown)" (Haddon 84). Personally, I love bananas, and I also really like the color brown, and I don't mind the color yellow, however, Christopher does not like these colors because he has some form of emotion and intuition government by his unconscious mind that allows him to make these choices. Since he is very rationalistic, he states, "in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don't take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do" (Haddon 85). Hence, one can see that humans' perception is defined strongly by their emotions and beliefs, thus causing us to understand things not the way they are but as we are. Conclusively, it is impossible, even if one is autistic, to perceive things free of emotion and intuition. Thus, the most important thing that can come out of the realization that humans define and perceive objects uniquely is that one can learn more about oneself from these perceptions. Either way, Christopher John Francis Boone and myself serve as sometimes opposite yet sometimes very similar examples in defining that humans are irrational and highly subjective creatures who "think and name in one world" and "live and feel in another" (Proust, 1871-1922). ...read more.

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