Friday, May 12, 2006

Looks Can Be Deceiving, but Perception is Everything?

We live in a very dualistic society. Which is frustrating to me, because I believe that most of the time life doesn't actually exist in either/or situations. Usually you're not actually one thing or another, you're usually somewhere in between two extremes. Ask just about anyone if they're liberal or conservative. Go ahead, take a poll. How many times do you get a simple one-word answer? I hesitate to use the word never, but, really, is the answer to that question ever a one-word answer? No. "I'm pretty liberal." or "I'm socially liberal, but politically conservative." or whatever.

We're still living with the consequences of a dualistic concept that came out of Greco-Roman thought. They believed that there are two worlds, the spiritual and physical, and that the spiritual is much, much better than the physical. Some even went so far as to say that the physical is evil. (Incidentally, most of those were branded as heretics by the Church, even as hung up on physical pleasures and so forth as they were, they didn't go that far!) I personally do not see this view of physicality being bad in our scripture. And reason seems to dictate that there are many, many problems arising from such detrimental views of our bodies.

But what really ticks me off is the way we judge each other. We say things like, don't judge a book by it's cover, and looks can be deceiving, but do we actually live by those ideas?

Seriously, be honest with yourself.

What we really act on are these sayings: clothes make the man and perception is everything. Are you more likely to trust a man in a suit, or a man in a T-Shirt and sweats? Are you more likely to take seriously a man with long hair, or with short? Now the same question, only with women... Are you holding a double standard there? What's more important, the amount of work your co-worker is actually doing? Or is the amount of work he or she appears to be doing? What about teenage drivers? Or octogenarians behind the wheel? What judgments do you make about people driving cars with dents in the fender? Or people who are walking down the side of the road? Or people with a cardboard sign made from the bottom of a box and a dead marker in one hand and a Dixie cup in the other?

I get so frustrated with this stuff. I really do.

I don't even know what to say about it anymore.

Maybe I'll tell you about the guy with the sign and the Dixie cup later.

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