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TOK Essay. We see and understand things not as they are but as we are

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"We see and understand things not as they are but as we are" It may be physical or psychological, and a cursory observation of human interactions makes it apparent that we engage psychologically in at least two different, not necessarily mutually exclusive types of "seeing". One is where we employ external inputs to perceive the outside world. The other is the unadulterated gazing inside of our own conscious: genuine introspection. Both varieties of "seeing" are a part of our daily interactions and are shaped by our environment and backgrounds.. It could be an interesting measure of one's emotional maturity as to how little dichotomy is allowed to exist between those two types of "seeing" in daily transactions. The area of history can be displayed to support the statement. Hitler is a subject of endless debate amongst historians: a judgement of his massacre of the Jews would be based on personal perspectives, cultural beliefs and moral values. Even though it is widely accepted Hitler was unethical in his actions, a staunch Nazi would have justifications that only other Nazis would be able to relate with. ...read more.


Taking an example from personal experience, during my internship I came across an atheist doctor who subscribed to the principle of relative morality with liberal views on abortion right up to 21 weeks of pregnancy. A patient asked him whether aborting voluntarily at 21 weeks of pregnancy would be tantamount to depriving a life a chance to exist as well as what his thoughts were on the foetus' ability to perceive pain, and in my presence he dismissed those concerns in private. He did, however, have to transcend his own perceptions on this topic and project the known facts in relation to this patient's enquiries. Whatever the personal background and views of the doctor, he had no choice but to see the consequences as they actually were. In fact, that is what most competent doctors do day in and day out. History also provides examples where not just individuals but nations have demonstrated how it has been necessary for them to see reality as it were rather than getting stuck in the wrong lane with their perceptions of individuals or events. Taking India before independence, the British had a strategic motive based on their perceived national interests when it came to judging and dealing with Mahatma Gandhi. ...read more.


This brings us to a time-tested understanding that although it would be within one's immediate comfort zone to see things mainly on the basis of one's personal interpretations, the actual truth is always out there, irrespective of whether we are restricted exclusively within the cocoon of our own views or not. If these views are a product of a mature, empathetic and knowledgeable mind, then the way one sees things will approximate the way things actually are. Anything less could be counterproductive for a person or a nation because it is inherent in the nature of the truth to eventually prevail. At that time, if one is on the good side of the truth, there is no more cause for misery and the icing on the cake is confirmation of the value of insight: enlightenment as it were. In conclusion, I feel everyone has to some degree a bias on something because we have all developed in different environments, raised to believe different things and inspired to do different things. The closest one can get to seeing things as they are in reality is through science for situations where scientific laws are widely accepted. Otherwise, a moderately neutral outlook considering the majority of viewpoints and consequences would be a good starting point. ? ...read more.

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