My “Objective” Observations about Objectivity

I’m one of those people who look at things from more than one perspective. Yes, at times I fear I catch myself looking at things from many, many different perspectives a tendency which, if carried too far, is merely an effort to be God and know everything! The “normal” thing to do is to look at life through the narrow little prism that one is accustomed to and never worry about “diversity.” Life is pretty simple to that person but I was never blessed with that simplicity.

Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist who has demonstrated a similar penchant for looking at things from multiple perspectives. He has made very astute observations about the political spectrum in our country and how that conservatives and liberals could learn from each other if they could ever lay aside their pig-headed assuredness that they are “right.” I include here a link to a review of one of his books last year which you might find worthwhile if the subject interests you. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/the-righteous-mind-by-jonathan-haidt.html?_r=0)

I’d like to share another observation on the subject of “objectivity” from the philosopher Karl Jaspers about the human tendency to absolutize himself, disregarding his finitude and the subjective nature of his grasp of the world:

If we think we have seized upon the total historic process as an object of knowledge, if we thank that thus we have visualized wherein and whereby we exist, we have lost the sense of the encompassing source from which we live…Whenever an observer thinks he knows what man is, what history is, what the self is as a whole, he loses his touch with the encompassing and thus is cut off from his origin and his essence

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “My “Objective” Observations about Objectivity

  1. jeglatter

    Interesting topic—one of my favorites! In hopes of writing a book, I used to spend quite a bit of time in contemplation of how the world would be different should the energy behind prochoice and the energy behind prolife embrace instead of pushing against. It was an interesting exercise…sadly the book comes a little difficultly…Cheers Lew! Thanks for this write!
    -Jennifer

    Like

    Reply
    1. literary lew Post author

      Thank you! One of my favorite topics also. It was such a turning point in my life when I learned that “what we see is what we are” as confusing and crazy as that notion appears to be! We are such incredible, complicated, beautiful, and mysterious little critters who are so very capable of behaving so badly. And I’m talking about me!

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s