Perspectives, Biases & Paradigms – TOK

“We see the world not, as it is but as we are”

– Talmud.

I agree to this statement by the Talmud to a great extent as it applies to many different situations in life. Every individual has different unique experiences, therefore every individual’s knowledge and the way they see the world is determined by one’s past experiences. As Stephen Covey stated in his talk, everyone’s experiences and culture and being projected to the outside, therefore having an impact on each individuals beliefs and opinions. Therefore I agree with the statement by the Talmud, as everyone’s paradigms are influenced by the different aspects of their past experiences.

We do, however keep in mind everyone’s paradigms because every individual has a different background where they have experienced completely different things, therefore everyone has different paradigms. People can get to be very self-centred and do not take other’s paradigms in consideration. A very good example of this situation was conveyed by Covey in his talk about his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. In his example, Covey was sitting in a train when a father walked in with his kids. The kids were running around being really loud and disturbing everyone around them. Covey, who was annoyed at the children, asked the father if he could tell them to stop as they were disturbing everyone. The father then explained that his wife had died an hour before and he did not know how to manage the situation and neither did the kids. Covey’s paradigm then changed completely and started being more empathetic towards the father. It is interesting to see how someone’s paradigm can change so fast, if Covey would have been aware of the tragic situation the man was in, then his paradigm would have been completely different and he would have acted in a more appropriate way towards the situation. Another example, also discussed by Covey in the same talk where he was giving a talk and there were two people constantly talking throughout the whole talk and his mother was sitting two rows behind them. The mother was outraged, because they were not paying attention to her son. After the talk she commented what had happened and she found that the woman was Korean and the person she was talking to was her translator. Once again if Covey’s mother would have known about all the details, her paradigm would have been completely different.

There are many situations in life where people have paradigms and they get in massive arguments due to this. This can be seen everyday on Facebook where people start fights in comments, each explaining their paradigms. Each person has some sort of valid argument in their comments and all are right in their own way because their paradigms are being influenced by their past experiences. This can also be seen in sports. For example, soccer. Soccer fans have paradigms depending on the team they support and they have strong opinions and they get in fights to defend their own paradigm.

Overall, I believe that the statement by the Talmud, “We see the world, not as it is but as we are”, portrays society. Each individual has different and unique experiences, beliefs and opinions, therefore their decisions and actions are influenced by the different aspects in their lives.