11 April 2008

Perspective is everything

Our mythology, expectations, and theories form such a thick blanket of perception that I don't know if it's possible to see the world in any way except through this subjective lens. It's not necessarily a bad thing, though I'd argue that it usually is, especially when concerns religion versus open-minded inquiry.

One example of perspective having a positive outcome was when a baby was born with two faces in India this week. The medical term is craniofacial duplication, which of course just means more than one head or face (aren't medical terms tricky?). But that's the western scientific perspective: abnormality, deformity.
To the villagers in India, she's the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess of valor, Durga. Rather than being feared and ostracized she is being worshiped as a blessing. Not too shabby.

A contrasting example of perspective's influence happened when the Spanish Conquistadors (which I think is the medical term for rapist) landed in S. America for the first time. The Inca's ancient history told them of a deity called Viracocha who wore shiny armour, had pale skin, and dark beards and would one day return to bring the gifts of civilization to the Incas. Well, apparently it wasn't Incan civilization that they were bringing. But these expectations are one of the big reasons why it was so easy for the Spanish to basically show up and conquer the continent. A few boats full of men on horses was able to take over a race of millions. Of course the Spanish believed they were chosen by the Christian God to rule the world and save it, so that was helping drive their end. Perspective.

What do you expect from the Gods?

1 comment:

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