Monday, March 14, 2011
Tell me what you see
I saw this picture and I wrote what I saw and thought from it. Take a peep into my head. Excuse me if it is not completely clear all the time. My ideas are convoluted. Even my philosophy professor says so *smile*
During the course of his life, Plato came up with a ‘no evolution’ theory that has been labeled Idealism. In his theory there are two worlds. One world (hidden from our sights) is completely perfect and the other world (our world) is an imperfect copy striving to be like the first world. In the same way that Plato described his theory is the same way that diversity and reality interact. Diversity is the perfect world. The one where no human being is judged on the basis of skin color, his background, his sexual orientation or his religion. The world where I, as a black female, do not lead my life centered on that fact. A world where when I mention my being the only Nigerian in my undergraduate class (with the exception of the Nigerian-Americans), other Nigerians do not wince and ask how I survive. Reality on the other hand is the imperfect world. Our world. A world where black sticks to black, yellow to yellow, red to red and orange to orange. A world where comfort is sought in the familiarity of similarity. A world where I find myself drawn to people who look like me, think like me and believe like me.
My first look at the picture, at the part depicting diversity, saw my eyes trying to make sense of the misplaced color coordination. Upon sighting the bottom half, I could almost hear my eyes sigh with relief at something that was easily made sense of. I am neither a sexist nor a racist. I am neither a nationalist nor a tribalist. I am simply human. And humans are flawed. Luckily flaws, like abhorrence for diversity, can be remedied however hard or long it takes. Things like internet and planes have shrunk our world enough to make us realize that the group you identify with is not the only one in the world, neither is it the only one that is completely right. Accepting diversity is all about changing perspective, tweaking our mindsets and opening our inner eyes to new things. Humans have to be taught, whether formally or informally, that life does not begin and end with your country, tribe or religion. Rather life begins and ends with your knowledge and comfort in your country, tribe and religion mixed with a healthy dose of knowledge and understanding of other countries, tribes and religions. Understanding does not mean total acceptance. It merely means being able to see the other side. If I didn’t like science so much, I would have been a lawyer for the sole pleasure of having to understand both sides. Plato might divide worlds into two and thus create an avenue to divide these two concepts, diversity and reality, into two separate non-intersecting ideas but I see one world. One world where diversity is the reality and the reality is a diverse world.