International #atozchallenge

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Objectivity, is it real?

Our views are shaped by individual experiences, by lessons learned early on. As much as we advocate our individualism, to a large degree we’re products of our upbringing.

Many break away from the past, but that’s the exception not the norm. Growing up in religious families, for example, would mean religion is important. If the opposite is true, we’re likely not big churchgoers.

I grew up in Eastern Europe — Romania — where religion was part of life without being ingrained in our way of thinking. The majority viewed religion as a way of teaching and passing on traditions. There was a distinction between spirituality and religion.

600px-2005-08-11_Kiev_Pechersk_Lavra_162

Understanding Eastern Europe means examining her past — too long a post and for another time. Suffice it to say history haunts the region. One of the first lessons there is the importance of learning our history, and by association, education.

But is learning our history, acknowledging our everyday moments, enough?

The limits of our willingness to learn about the world — on an international level, not only our corner of the world — is, by repeating past errors, tested to shaky results.  

The other day, an acquaintance I consider worldly described one of those far-off Russian places, one of the Stans. She was referring to  Kazakhstan, a former Soviet Republic, not a Russian place, where the language is Turkic, the country more Asian. A place rich in history where wanders never cease. The word choice painted a distant, cold place, populated by aliens.

I’ve made similar comments about places less understood, whether in jest or seriously. Breaking away from ingrained beliefs requires curiosity, objectivity, education. 

Still, is objectivity real? Not sure. Perhaps it’s an idealistic principle like justice or truth, a nice idea imperfectly operated in human hands.

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Image: cultureilustrated.com

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30 responses to “International #atozchallenge

  1. Great post. I think we all look at the world subjectively, influenced by our upbringing and culture. Sometimes what we know about other parts of the world is “what everyone knows” instead of the truth :-) Good luck with the rest of the AtoZchallenge.

  2. Thanks Silvia, you pose interesting questions. Those absolutes: ‘..justice or truth, a nice idea imperfectly operated in human hands.’ says it like it is.

  3. Boy, Silvia I totally agree with Susan’s statement. You do ask interesting questions. Plus, I WISH there was a ‘one fits all’ answer. Great post!

  4. Silvia, one of the reasons I enjoy your posts so much is that you are such a thoughtful writer. Thank you for this. ❤️

  5. One of the reasons I follow a diverse group on WordPress is to learn about the real, human, descriptions of places I only otherwise imagine. You raise a good point.

  6. All the beautiful places, the fascinating architecture, the hustle bustle of foreign (to me) people:- in a way I am attracted and these “speak” to me, but I can not find words and specific information. I think that one famous philosopher looked at a cathedral and he muttered, “Poetry in Stone.” The objectivity is the subjective impression that was made on me.

    • Well put, Joseph. I’m attracted to things “beyond our borders.” Who was it that coined that phrase, I can’t remember. What’s forgotten and neglected today, was once a sophisticated empire — all that history, the character. But that makes me in no way objective past my subjectivity. Humans, we’re flawed like that. Thanks for reading. Lovely seeing your comment.

  7. I really like your 4th paragraph about religion!

  8. This is a wonderful post! Liked the way you spoke about objectivity! Really true…

  9. I think it’s something we can approach, through writing, for we are forced to depict other people’s perspectives, if we would do it well. We must see through someone else’s subjectivity, and this can sometimes reveal how blind our own is.
    Thanks for sharing, as always. You are such a thought-provoking blogger. :-)

    • Seeing through subjectivity is key, Andrea, as you well express. In many instances it’s obvious, other times no so easy to discern views in relation to feelings. Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

  10. I thank you, Andrea, for your articulation of “…through writing…depict other people’s perspectives…we…see through someone else’s subjectivity…” I think this is what the clinical psychologist or psychiatrist also does with long years of experience. The novelist, Balzac, who wrote ninety-one interconnected novels must have been your mentor???

  11. For most of my life Eastern Europeans were hidden away from us, behind a high ideological wall. Thankfully that is no longer the case. I have another friend, another of our fellow writers, who is of Romanian ancestry, though American born. She is a very dear friend. I’ve long been intrigued by Romanians and Romanian culture, and I’m glad to learn more now. Besides, Romania is such a beautiful country. I can’t imagine why someone would want to come along and destroy the beauty, the culture, the history by war. To me, it’s nonsensical. I have better things to do.

    Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, Silvia, living in the greater Los Angeles area, when I lived there I met people from all over the world. A special friend was a woman from Fiji who grew up picking pears from the king’s trees. Another, an Ethiopian with great diet recipes. And, you know? I’ve found that humans all over the world are the same. We’re not much different from one another, yet we are all individuals and we must respect that. I just love learning about people and their cultures.

    • Not much different at all, Samantha. We’re a collection of hearts and souls wanting more or less the same from life — safety, health. Cultures, ideologies impose boundaries. Hopefully books could break some of them.
      Romania is beautiful, but it’s geography — being so close to Russia — keeps much of it still hidden, albeit no longer literately. Thank you.

  12. I studied history in college, but I am not a world traveler. Thus, I really only feel comfortable speaking about things of which I know about. I do not really speak at length about other places since I have never been to those places. I would love to travel, but this takes money and can be tricky when you only have so much. People make it sound like it is easy to travel, but living on a fixed budget makes this difficult. However, if some country wanted to pay bloggers to come for a week and share their experiences, well sign me up.

  13. Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me

    Your post was very inspiring in making me want to learn more! Happy a-z!

  14. I for interesting, Sylvia. I learned a lot living in Prague for a year, a lot of it rather confusing. So many wars, occupiers, etc. And of course when we lived there, religion was suppressed.

  15. The question, though, were the words kindly meant? We frequently don’t know how to phrase something due to a lack of understanding, but that may not be due to any ill will. Sometimes, we just need to be educated.

    • The words weren’t unkind, I don’t think. The tone was diminishing, perhaps disregarding. Not out of malice, though. Just not enough knowledge about the place.
      Thanks, Liz.

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