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Friday, October 14, 2011

Perception Research Paper

Perception Research Paper

In order to truly comprehend the claim that "In order to find out how things really are, one must understand the filters through which one perceives the world," one could consider the quote, "[when] The rubber tree won't yield latex: the biologist blames the sapling, the geologist blames the soil, the contractor blames the unskilled laborer and owner says it is fighting back at being controlled," by Amitav Ghosh. This quote accurately portrays the differences in the way people view the world. In the quote Ghosh talks about how four different people will look at the same thing, yet see it in four different ways. Because of the fact that different ways and areas of knowledge affect the choices we make, we often make choices by actually comparing between the areas and ways of knowing.
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The most common areas of knowledge that people most commonly use are ethics and history, both ancient and recent, authority and science. People tend to look at things from as scientific view and then compare their view with one of ethical perspective. When making decisions it is seemingly built into the subconscious of every human to use logic, past memory and personal experience when formulating a decision. These ways of knowing shape the decisions and the views that people have.

When we make a decision we think logically about something and try to make sense of things in our minds. When we try and make sense of thing in our minds we subconsciously base our logic on past and personal experiences that we have had. Take for example the quote by Ghosh. When the contractor looked at the rubber tree and saw that it did not produce and latex he began to think logically about the situation. He thought back to past experiences where something did not work right because one of the workers did something wrong. To the contractor this would provide a logical explanation for why the rubber tree failed and in the light of this he made his decision. He incorporated past experiences and memories into a logical explanation of the reason for the rubber trees failure.

This very same method of reasoning took place in the minds of those who made decisions concerning the September 11th attack. People began to try and construct logical explanations based on their past experiences. They began to reason that since, in the past, the Al Queda organization had organized movements against governments and since they were an unethical group and so on, the Al Queda must have organized the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon. This fit in logically because of several factors including the fact that some of the suspects were confirmed to be "–źsleepers" sent to the US to await a time when they would be called to action (Sept. 11 News). People also use this method of thinking and viewing the world even in the smallest decisions and thoughts made.

Historians are constantly faced with the issue of seeing through the "filters" that people view the world through. Historians have the hard task of looking at many different points of view in order to try and somewhat accurately recreate history. Historians have long realized that people view things differently based on their different ethical standpoints, past experiences, and the history of their time. Their task is to try and see through the filter to see things as they really where (Writing History). Take for example the history of the military action at My Lai. The Americans and Vietnamese both had different tales of what happened at My Lai (Something Dark­). Now historians face the difficult task of trying to clear away the screens people viewed the whole operation through and reconstruct what actually happened.

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