We Are All Incredibly Closed-Minded?


This isn’t an article about politics. It’s more an article about interpretation, or as we call it up here in the ivory tower, hermeneutics. It’s about the way we are always biased, how shaded the ways in which we perceive the world are.

On Wednesday I got the following email from a friend of mine and former Thought Catalog contributor, Carl Segall:

Are you watching the presidential debate? Romney is crushing it. Turn it on.

To which I responded:

Send me cat memes. I know what you think. You’re a hardcore Republican from Texas, of course you think he’s crushing it.

So I called my super liberal parents to see what they thought of the debate. And they were just kind of apathetic, but said Romney was “lying” and that what he was doing was “morally repulsive.” Of course you think that mom. You’re a wealthy liberal born and raised in Massachusetts with Catholic guilt for God’s sake!

Why is everyone so set in their ways? So blindsided by identity that they can’t come at things critically and curiously?

Why do I know my friends from Texas are going to think Romney crushed it, while my liberal parents up north are going to say it was all a lie?

Why do you know when you go to the Huffington Post you’re gonna see a takedown on Romney and CORPORATE ADVERTISEMENTS for Obama?

Why do you know when you go to the Drudge Report you’re going to see praises of Romney and again PAID ADVERTISEMENTS for Romney?

A conservative-like thinker and politician describes his perception of Obama/Romney at the debate:

Obama was mauled, with facts, figures, anecdotes, arguments, jokes, quips. A smiling Romney was on offense all night. And the president’s performance seems inexplicable.

A liberal-like thinker and blogger writes of his perception of Obama:

[Obama’s] weakness is that he always tries to stay “above it all,” which comes across as aloof.

How strange the different reaction to the same event, the polarization in the process of interpretation; that looking at the same thing, people see such different things.

An insane French philosopher wites about the ability, or inability, of the masses to interpret the images of the media and the planet:

Nonsense: the masses scandalously resist this imperative of rational communication. They are given meaning: they want spectacle. No effort has been made to convert them to the seriousness of the content, nor even the seriousness of the code. Messages are given to them, they only want some sign, they idolize the play of signs and stereotypes, they idolize any content so long as it resolves itself into a spectacular sequence.

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