"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
- Albert Einstein
There was a time I wanted to be a philosopher. I wanted to be the next Plato, Niche, or even Bob Dylan. Check the want ads for philosophers and see how many listings you find. Still, I often sit and ponder the human condition and the nature of life itself.
It seems to me that life is merely a string of remembered experiences, perceptions of the world around us that change over time. Intelligent people mold their perceptions to fit the evidence presented them. Unintelligent people ignore the evidence presented if it doesn't fit their perceptions. The problem is that humans find a change in perception uncomfortable. It is far easier for us to dismiss something than to try to understand it.
Case in point: Here in Texas, home of many who hold on to their perceptions with a death grip, there is a movement to amend the Texas Constitution to ban same-sex unions. As the courts in Texas are forced to uphold the Constitution of Texas, this amendment would prevent any recognition of gay marriage. Please note, couples engaging in sodomy could be arrested for it in Texas until late 2003. The question now arises, will people in Texas examine the facts before them and adjust perceptions accordingly or run with their current flawed perceptions.
Christians often cite the Bible for their "God hates gays" ideas. They often say it is the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They leave out the biblical evidence of murder, beastiality, and organized crime. Why? It doesn't fit their perception. Many also have the idea that gay=pedophile. Ignore the thousands of happy gay couples that adopt and raise happy unabused children. There is a difference between a man wanting a man and a man wanting a young boy. Unless you are too lazy to examine the evidence right before your eyes.
Case #2: Strip club nudity laws. Earlier this year San Antonio passed a humorous ordinance that said exotic dancers had to be licensed and had to wear the permit while performing. This was to make it easier to find the ones violating the nudity ordinances...does anyone else see the problem here? We are saying it is OK for these ladies to go on stage in what barely qualifies as dental floss but if they take that off we need to identify and arrest them...The perception is that we maintain a moral standard if they wear a thong barely larger than a postage stamp with dental floss holding it on. Remove that and it crosses the line...The evidence clearly shows the law to be absurd at best yet it still stands.
I could go on further but I actually have to work. I hope I made us all think about our perceptions a bit though. I know I examined mine for this piece and it revealed just how much I have changed over the years.