I’m taking a class here at Roberts Wesleyan called “Principles of Persuasion & Criticism” and so far the textbook leaves a lot to be desired but the conversational approach that the professor employs is a highlight. She gets angry when students don’t know what they should be talking about from the assigned reading because she really makes it her goal to bring complicated matters down to a personal plain so kids that are the same age can discuss how their lives are affected by these topics.
A topic that we broached today was objectivity. As someone who enjoys writing and can’t get enough of journalism, I take objectivity seriously. However, I also have my opinions on what objectivity is and what it isn’t.
Objectivity certainly is not truth nor is it an attempt to tell the truth. Some people believe objectivity is a farce; which I disagree with.
Objectivity is about presenting both sides of the story. It doesn’t even have to be even. Just present both sides. You will never, ever have an objective story in the way that most people perceive objectivity. Whether you know it or not, every single thing you write is colored by an experience you’ve had or a belief you hold. Objectivity is not the name of the game. Perspective is. And if you can maintain perspective in a piece or in a conversation then you’re half way there in terms of where you want to be.
This leads me to an event last night that started out as trying to solve a riddle and ended up far, far away from any semblance of that. So, a bunch of my friends and I are sitting at dinner last night and one of them tells us this riddle. Something about a guy who was eating a pelican sandwich and ended up drowning off a pier. Amidst all of this chatter, somehow, homosexuality came up. Weird right? Don’t ask me how, it just did. Then one of the guys at the table says something along the lines of… “I don’t know, there’s just something physiologically wrong with gay people, it’s like their wires are crossed.”
If I had a mirror in front of my face I would guess that the face I made was my “what in the blue f*ck did you just say?” face when I turn my head in their direction along with the “are you stupid?” face. I was amazed that someone could actually say that, like, out loud and not be punched in the mouth.
Then I realized… wait, that’s probably a majority opinion at this campus. That, somehow, being gay is a disease. Something that can be cured. Something that can be “fixed” by putting the wires in the right place. In the “right” place as opposed to the “wrong” place.
I snapped back to reality and ended my disgusted look and subsequently got into an argument with him later on about whether the chicken or “organism” as far as I was concerned, or the egg came first. I said it was obviously the organism and he said I had no idea what I was talking about but fortunately for myself I had stopped giving a shit about what he had to say 5 minutes beforehand.
This is why objectivity can’t exist in this world of ours. Subjectivity rules.
This kid made subjective claim after subjective claim with absolutely no evidence to back it up. He literally believes that the jury came back on the “born this way” or not issue and that the latter is true. He’s that dull. He said something about twin testing, blah blah blah to someone who is a twin, like I don’t keep up on that stuff.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of “nice guys finish last.” Well “objectivity” finishes last too.
What is it that we actually know for certain. We know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, right? Don’t we also know that the sun will continue to rise? Well, no, we don’t. We know that murder is wrong, right? Nope, because someone, somewhere will raise a question about circumstance. The circumstance, the context is what makes something right or wrong. The losers are at the winner’s mercy surrounding context. How many Nazis were hung at Nuremberg yet Harry S. Truman lived to the ripe old age of 88? He won.
Absolute truth exists in religion and religion alone. God is all-powerful.
These are all things Christians believe. Truth exists within us. It is not existential out here in the real world. Something I may find insensitive is kosher to tens of millions of people. I may be offended by something that someone has said but someone will say that they are offended that I’m offended at that person’s offensive comment. It’s a strange loop.
To know something and to believe something are two very different things. Believing something we know to be true within our heart and thoughts is one thing but when we believe something and start to believe we know and suddenly come to the realization that when we introduce what we “know” to the real world, it is violently cast back into our faces because what you know is certainly not what they know.
Complicated, I know. I’m still working on it. In the mean time, I’m going to keep thinking about this phenomenon and tinker with it a bit. Maybe I’ll come up with something.