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

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Malav Manek XII-C

Topic: “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.

“Why do different people see the same things differently?” The answer to this question could be the claim mentioned above.

Knowledge is an extensive concept which has no precise definition since it has no end or limit. In TOK context, the acquisition and understanding of knowledge varies from person to person depending on how one has been brought up, his/her lifestyle and experiences and how widely he/she has been exposed to the great world. In other words, if you look at the above topic, what I would comprehend would be different from what anyone else would. In my view, not only is this claim applicable to the audience as a whole but also my mind and my upbringing agree with it; hence this statement can be assessed from a variety of perspective or to be precise, point of view. Several personal and universal examples can be used to verify or disprove this claim and the justifications may also depend on how knowledge is acquired: the ways of knowing.

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In view of the fact that knowledge is around us, there are several ways of acquiring it for the best of our intellect. Perception as one of the ways of knowing is simply the grasping of things and information through our five senses i.e. sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. Perception is an essential way in almost all areas of knowledge and many people including me depend on this source of knowledge. There are several components that affect a person’s way of perceiving certain information. Sometimes, a person is likely to understand only what he expects or want to see or hear and neglects any other details that are not thought to be present. In my opinion, a man’s amount of interest on a particular topic may also influence the way he would perceive it. At times, we tend to forget what we had fully seen or understood and hence I think this way of knowing is not completely reliable for all situations; though we can always confirm about something if more than one of our senses or any other sources support or confirm it.

Every man is exposed to some form of literature in his life. This could either be in terms of childhood folktales or in poems studied at high school. Taking my own example, I used to be narrated several short stories just like any other kindergarten kid. These stories that had animals as the characters were meant to amuse all the children. On the other hand, these fables had a moral that taught a lesson about everyday life. As a child, I did not realize the importance of these morals but I was rather keen on the comic elements of the characters and the animated images. This was because I used to see things as I was and not as they were. As time passed, I got exposed to several principles of life and my knowledge got expanded. After a couple of years, my perception about the stories changed and I then understood from “The Tortoise and the Hare”, that the slow and steady always wins the race rather than just knowing that the slow tortoise won the race. As time passed by, even though the tale (thing) is as it was, my perception and understanding about it has completely changed since how I see and understand things now is entirely different from how I used to see and understand things earlier in my life.

Emotions, on the other hand, include the sentiments, mood or passion either within us or outside us. Emotions differ in everyone at all times depending on the present circumstances a person encounters. This method of knowing usually gives rise to physical signs on a being other than the cerebral facet. Furthermore, emotions can also be altered by religious and ethical beliefs. A disciple of a certain religion would be disturbed and would not accept any claims against his practice especially if he intensely believed in it. Emotions are effective techniques of knowing since they help us in reducing down our choices in life. It is always easier to choose from a restricted short list rather than a collection of free options. Powerful emotions could either be a hurdle in acquiring knowledge or it could have a positive influence on our perception.

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Music is everywhere around us. This form of art is absolutely related to emotions since people’s moods get affected by perceiving, composing or playing it. Different types of music are categorized to represent various forms of emotions. The linking of music to a particular emotion differs from person to person. In a real life situation, one would use music to thrill, entertain, or relax oneself; everyone uses different types of music to deal with a particular state of mind. Regardless of the language portrayed by a particular song, preference for a type of music is the only reason to why anyone’s emotions would change to be upbeat from anxiety or sorrow; this concept is known as biased perception. Consequently, one would try to construct and describe fallacious reasons in order to support his choice and hence result into the powerful and changed emotions.

When applying music in the medical field, doctors believe that it makes a patient feel better and fastens up the healing process. According to Dr. Michael DeBakey, “In medicine, increasing published reports demonstrate that music has a healing effect on patients.” [1] In my opinion, music tends to liven up the environment of the hospital which is usually very quiet and sorrowful. In a hospital, the atmosphere is normally such that the patient would always consider himself to be sick since his mind knows why he would have been admitted there. Use of music as a medium of entertainment would change the patient’s perception about the hospital’s ambiance and hence his emotions would be modified accordingly. In this way, the person would overcome his psychological feeling of sickness and consider himself to be in a standard environment with no trouble. On the whole, music regulates our emotions which thus amend our perception about a specific thing; this allows us to see and understand things not as they are but as we are.

Furthermore, one of the famous theories, Newton’s second law of motion said that force was equal to mass times acceleration for all moving bodies. Isaac Newton constructed this theory on the basis of moving objects experienced by him and used by him in his daily life. It was his beliefs and expectations that affected the way he saw things. Accordingly, he concluded this generalized law which was believed by the world since everyone thought the way Newton did. This was, however, challenged by Albert Einstein who argued against the theory saying that it could not be applied to fast moving objects for example Light which is the fastest moving object on earth. He rectified the theory by introducing the relativity theory that was more accurate and suitable to calculate the force of any moving object at any speed. Einstein’s thoughts and beliefs regarding this theory were different since he viewed the earth from a different perception when compared to those of Newton even though both were great scientists. It can

 



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