Constructionist at hart

March 12, 2009

As you might have guessed if you have read this blog so fare, I think that our ideas about the world matters immensely. How we view the world as individuals and even more important as groups shape the way the world. If we all agree that something is a problem it becomes a problem. If we see a group of people as a problem, they might start to act as one. I do not say that the material world only exist in our heads… because I do believe that chairs, birds and guns do exist in the world. But how we perceive something do very much shape what we can think of doing with the thing. Again I do not say that humans can’t act outside the social norms because they do all the time – it would be really silly to say that they could not. But in the vast amount of times we do use things according to our collective idea of the object. We sit on the chair, we look at the bird… perhaps we eat it or have it as a pet. We use the gun as a weapon – not as piece of art or as a paper wait – though both can and has been done.

Our brain is hardwired to reduce the number of possible options we think of then we see an object so it don’t overload. Then we see something we put it into neat little boxes because that is how our brain works. It is hard for us to think of new ways to do things… we can do it yes… sometimes people do indeed make art out of guns and sit on birds… but most of the time they don’t. Most of the time our preconceived ideas – prejudgments – even do shape way of thinking. Because that is the case it is fertile to look at how people pensive something then you want to do research on something.

To use a classic example to USA the 5 North Korean atomic bombs are much more frightening then Great Britten’s 500 atomic bombs. If you just look at the numbers of weapons without looking at who has them, then you can’t understand why USA is not more afraid of England then North Korea. You can’t make sense world policy and you can’t understand why people act as they do without looking at their perception of the world. It might be annoying for scientists to have to look at something as fluffy as ideas and sometimes it seem so utterly obviously that it seem stupid to look into – a waist of time. But especially then you try to understand another time or part of the world, then you have to look into how they pensive the world – otherwise you will get your results all messed up. That is why it is fertile to study ideas! Ideas matter!

Most of the time we can not look into the heads of people and see what they think, but it is not as hard as it sound to figure out if a country is hostile to another as it might sound – it do not necessarily takes months of boring discours analysis – that can indeed be both tiering, boring and really fruitless to do. Often a really shallow look can indeed reveal it. If the land’s president talk about the country you are looking at as a part of “the asses of evil”, then they are properly not great pales. But if you do not bring the hostility into your analysis, then you will properly get a result that is way off.

The bright side of this is that, unlike how the skeleton of a bird look, we can shape the ideas – perhaps it is hard to do as an individual but if groups of people starts to work for a new meaning of a concept, then it can indeed be changed. The classic example would woman’s role in the west, but I wanna use one of my friends’ favorite example instead: In the 1980s the American public did not see drunk driving as that bad a thing. It was seen as stupid, but not the worst thing you could do. Today 30 years later it is viewed as a really horrible thing to do. Sadly I do not have the statistics because my argument would be so much better with it… but it is a huge change in the perspiration of a crime.

So how we view things matters! Ideas matter. But ideas can be changed by humans.

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