Sunday, January 29, 2017

Store away the best throw away the rest

Some of us are more open to new experiences than others, we’ve all come across people who refuse change and avoid trying anything new for the life of them. Is it in our nature to fear change? To reject what is unfamiliar? Maybe. Through my experiences I’ve come to learn that it’s foolish to reject a thing based completely on what the majority think about it. Let me try to explain. 

I am a believer that one must use one’s own faculties to evaluate and judge the merits and suitability of action. Some of us reject things based on what can be seen at the end of the spectrum that is closest to what we are familiar with. Let’s take the relatively harmless topic of anime to explore this premise. Is it considered a non substantial art form? Do most anime have stupid story lines or lack depth? An average appreciator of movies would say yes and wouldn't think too far before labeling the whole genre as garbage, but do you get exceptions to this generalization? sure, studio ghibli offerings like 'spirited away', serials like 'cowboy bebop' or 'avatar' are good examples where anime deliver compelling stories that address deep subject matter and has the potential to better a life. Now if one dismissed anime all together based on its generalized classification, because of their unfamiliarity or because of some social stigma it carries, then they have lost the chance to experience what ever good and unique that anime has to offer. 

This is true to many such negative classifications in society. If one was to inquire closely, they would find exceptions to the classification but as a whole they would find the classification is just. It is just mostly because it is true and valid to the majority, one must not forget that society is one that is best suited to the majority and as such these classifications should be accepted as truths even if they don't hold true to everyone. There are many reasons as to why these classifications ring true in society. Two most common reasons seem to be the difficulty to weed out the the bad parts from the good and the fear of the repercussions of deviating from the norm.

As true as there are almost always exceptions to societal classifications is the fact that societal classifications are almost always mostly valid, meaning though there are exceptions to the case as an inferred truth they do hold up. If we go back to our silly example of watching anime as a means of enriching one's life, one could make the argument that it would make more sense to invest one’s time in watching a genre of movie that has a better track record? For every ‘spirited away’ you find you would waste your time going through 20 disappointments. 

‘Hey man.. that’s not cool! You might suck at finding the good one’s but i’m a pro bro.. you need to correlate the imdb scores with what the experts are saying in the usual sites and you know.. you need to get that zig when you watch the short. It all adds up. It’s a science really. Don’t be hating.’

Well, the dude makes a good point but what if you are someone who has lived under a rock and have never heard of IMDB or the experts and their usual sites the dude is talking about? What if you were born without the ability to zig(if it is something you're born with)? All valid questions, and from my experiences, I’ve come to realize that behind many such negative classifications there is a difficulty of weeding out the bad parts from the good and that It is a difficulty faced by majority of those who've tried. As such, one can argue that it was because the majority faced difficulties of filtering out the good parts, they labeled it an ineffective source and through a societal evolutionary process it got an unfavorable classification. Of course there are exceptions to this too but let’s keep it light for this post. 

So do classifications built up on the past experiences of a majority serve any purpose? Absolutely, simply put it saves most of us from making bad decisions. These classifications though they have come to be through an evolutionary process, once established becomes societal truths, the expected and the norm. They become part of the psyche of what the philosopher Martin Heidegger called the ‘they self’. ‘They self’, the template members of society are expected to conform to but according to Heidegger hinders the member from being the authentic self he or she can be.  

Classifications do for the most part serve the purposes they are suppose to serve. Not all of us are capable of weeding out the bad or have the internal fortitude to withstand the repercussions of diverging from the norm. Attempting to do so without the needed faculties lead to disastrous  outcomes. To complicate the matter further, most of us are ill equipped to assess the limits of our faculties and so sayings like ‘ignorance is bliss’ and ‘what we don’t know don’t hurt us’ really do ring true for most of us. The man who travels the well known road is far less likely to get lost.

So then what is the point of this discourse? The point should be the importance of classifications for a society and how they come to be. A man who truly understand the reasons would not be too quick to judge someone who appear to diverge from the norm. Further they will not fear diverging just because of an unfavorable classification, they would instead assess the suitability, benefits rationally and come to their own conclusions, gathering pearls of wisdom from places most may not even bother to look. Store away the best throw away the rest.