It seems that within the context of ‘whose reality’ there are multiple issues that jump to our attention. First, what is “whose reality”? (p.s. not sure of the proper order of quotation/question marks here).
Whose reality encompasses what we speak of when we say “this is the world” or “this is what I know/see”. At its most basic it is the perception a person has of the world, what they believe to be true and what makes up their world view.
Questions one would ask in whose reality is “what happens when realities differ?”, “is reality truth?”, “reality is subjective so, in the search for truth, what are we finding?”, “how is reality created?”, “what maintains reality?” and “do differing realities cause conflict?”.
Just to explore some simplistic ideas of whose reality we shall start with the prompt “We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." (This is the 2009 VCE exam prompt).
This prompt suggests that a person doesn’t see the world objectively. This means that every event, every memory, is all seen in a way that is affected by who that person is. Their education, their upbringing, their culture, their religion, their personality; all these factors make a person. If I blog constantly because I have self-esteem issues, then this is a part of my identity. This identity makes me view the world differently; it makes me an individual. It is all these factors that bring about a person’s mindset so that they interpret the world differently and individually decide what is ‘truth’.
Here it would be pertinent to say that ‘truth’ is not reality. Not everything we see and “know” is true. So our world may, in some cases be false. For example, I may believe that my computer has superhero powers that he hides from me (stupid Greg). That does not make it true because I think it is so. All that proves is that for me, in my reality, it is true. I will act and react according to that belief. If you asked me if I had superhero friends I would say yes, even though this is not strictly ‘truth’ (for you at least). So a reality can be a set of beliefs about the world.
Back to the question at hand though. If we have established that what we see of the world isn’t true and that a person’s characteristics change the way they see the world, we should probably address what this means (ie. the implications).
Realities are now individual, mine is different to yours and yours is different to the next person. What is science then? Previously a set of facts, now we can look at the interpretation of empirical data and see that it could not go without having influence from a person’s identity at some point. This makes it far from objective. Sure, it has more evidence than myth and rumor but the importance and credibility we attribute the sciences in society is in doubt.
In addition, if everyone’s reality is different, then what happens when realities clash? There must be a clash at some point and when there is, what happens to those realities? The conflict of realities is important. This involves people disagreeing on certain events, ideas, people… anything in fact. Where ever their is a perception of the world that conflicts with another, there is conflict of reality. (Though it is important only to discuss major conflicts within your context, arguing over what you had for breakfast with your brother probably isn’t that relevant as there may be very little effect to your reality). A person might reinforce their reality after conflict. It may solidify certain perceptions they have of the world. For example, a religious anti-abortionist arguing with a pro-abortionist. The pro-abortionist may walk away with their reality reinforced as that person religious beliefs affronted them. Some realities conflict and one or the other may not be up to the onslaught. Destruction or change may result. In the case of the abortion argument the anti-abortionist may go home and have their reality altered, they may no longer believe that abortion is wrong. Let’s take it a step further, the pro-abortionist may have gone home and had their reality completely destroyed. They might be unable to cope with the reality that abortion might be wrong and would need to seek ways to cope with that.
The question was ”We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” and as you see, we have explored a range of issues related to the concept. Don’t be worried if none of this came to mind; the subject is so broad that any number of things could have been discussed. The key is to not limit yourself to just the wording o the prompt because it is very limited and gives very little clues to what the examiners want to see. As long as you can relate the discussion you have made directly back to the prompt you’ll be fine.
In writing a context piece (for VCE English) students are meant to demonstrate a complex grasp of the ideas. Original ideas are strongly encouraged though the discussion of these ideas must be of a high standard including appropriate use of language and style. Whose reality is very suited (compared with other contexts) to an imaginative style though it is far harder to demonstrate understanding here so be wary. To get top marks:
Hope this helps someone, any questions are appreciated and will be answered fully.
p.s. …typer’s cramp
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