In the course of the week as directed for the midterm assignment, I was able to hear remarks made to imply that something irrational had been said or had occurred. Of all those time there are two that were in my opinion most interesting. They are as follows;- In the first instance the remark that referred to irrationality was made was during a conversation between two girls. One was telling the other of something that a friend of theirs had said the previous day. The two were chatting away excitedly as one described to the other what had transpired. The remark ‘she can’t be serious’ was made by the listening friend.
She remarked this when the other friend told her that their friend (X), a girlfriend not present there, had told her that she wanted to seek the services of a palm reader. The conversation then proceeded by girl H saying that that was her reaction too. Girl B wanted to know why their friend wanted to visit the palm reader. An explanation followed where girl H said that their friend X had read in the internet that palm readers could tell what was going to happen in one’s future. X wanted to know what was going to happen to her so that she could prepare for it and avoid disappointment.
The internet had described numerous instances when people were saved embarrassment and disaster when palm readers warned them about it. To this, both girl H and B laughed and agreed that that idea was crazy enough. They made fun on what their friend X would be told by the palm reader. They went on talking asking each other questions discussing their views on the same matter and whether they believed in such things. In the second scenario there was a couple, probably a married one, where the lady told the man that she had quit her job.
To this the husband remarked ‘You’ve got to be kidding’. The tone of the woman was casual at the start. In making the remark the man seemed to be in disbelief as one who wanted the statement by the woman not to be true. The conversation proceeded with the lady reaffirming her statement and adding that she had handed in her resignation letter earlier. When asked why she had done that, the woman without mincing her words replied that she had had a dream severally, around three times in the previous week that the building in which she worked was going to collapse killing people with it.
The fact that the dream had come to her three times, she believed, meant that she was being warned of what would happen in future and so she had to take precaution. It would be wrong for her to ignore the signs only to regret later. Life was more precious than money and that is why she had made the decision. The tone of the conversation turned serious when the man again remarked, ‘that is crazy’. He seemed very annoyed and thought the wife had done the wrong thing and proceeded to tell her so.
The tempers were flared as the woman was in pains to explain why she had resigned and the man was either too angry or disappointed to hear her out. The man termed her beliefs as outrageous and insensible which made the woman even angrier. She finally walked out saying that it was meaningless to have such a conversation with someone who did not want to understand. In the first case when the remark was made it made girl H who was narrating the incident even more eager to continue with it. It gave her a chance to explain in detail why their friend had made such a statement.
The response seemed to make the conversation more interesting and implied that the one listening to the story was interested in more information. A reaction that was foreclosed or resisted was one whereby the friend narrating the story could refuse to part with more information about the incident in discussion. The remark also made sure that the conversation stayed on course as it showed that the listener was quite interested in what went on , or why their friend being discussed had said that she wished her mother were dead.
The response confirmed the intention of the narrator. Who also affirmed that she thought that their friend could not have possibly been serious that she was going to visit a palm reader. The remark made the narrator know that her perceiving the story as one worth sharing was right. This reassurance made the girl even more eager to tell what transpired and to even give her views about the whole incident. In the second case the remark ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ made the woman seem even more serious in her assertion.
It made her reiterate her statement that she had quit her job. It also made her want to give an explanation for her desire before being misunderstood by the man. The remark, also made the situation take an even more serious tone as it actually implied that jokes would be inappropriate at that time or the issue at hand was not a joking matter. The reactions that were resisted were those of turning the matter into a laughing matter when it was serious. Also the chance to dismiss the incident as inconsequential was closed out.
The remark showed that the man was very serious about the subject at hand and therefore the woman could not easily divert the conversation or wish it away as trivial. After the remark the conversation seemed to take a very serious tone. First the remark showed that the man was not at all in agreement with what the woman had done and would take a lot to convince him that it was the right thing to do. In fact further along the conversation another remark depicting irrationality was made by the man. This made the woman more agitated as she wanted the man to see things from her point of view and she had not had a chance to make him do this.
As the conversation continued it seemed to almost generate into a disagreement with the couple trying to keep their voices low in a public place. In the first scenario if the remark had not been made by girl B, the excitement of the story would have taken a dip. A different statement like ‘Oh yes I have been looking for a palm reader myself’, would probably have come as a shock to girl H who thought the idea of visiting a palm reader to be awkward as well. The conversation would then have turned to a discussion or even an argument for and against the practice of visiting palm readers.
Because girl H thought visiting a palm reader was ridiculous maybe the argument would have turned out to be serious making the two friends part ways or agree to disagree. The other case would have been for girl B to answer in a way to show curiosity. For example ‘Oh really what does she want to find out? ’ or ‘oh yeah! , do those things work, can they really tell the future by looking at one’s palm? ’ Because girl B would not have shown support or disagree with what X wanted to do the girls would have continued in a discussion to explore different views concerning such practices.
They would each give their different views on palm reading. If the concept of visiting a palm reader would not have been ridiculous to both girls, maybe they would have delved into discussions concerning the same with examples of what they had heard about the same. The conversation would have led to the issues about gift in telling the future, the use of magic, sorcery and the like. The girls may have even agreed to join their friend when going to visit the palm reader. In this scenario the two girls were in agreement that seeing a palm reader was crazy.
Though I did not have an opportunity to listen to them for long, I think that they would have described the practice as backward and funny. They would have dismissed it as a practice used by the so called ‘future seers’ to steal money from people who were naive enough to believe that such things were true. They would have termed those people who visit palm readers as superstitious. Some people who because they did not have anything they believed in, were looking for some thing to grasp.
They would also have dismissed the practice of palm reading as that for those who were afraid of the future and therefore were looking for ways to manipulate it or even find hope and courage if they found that the future had something good to look out for according to the palm reader. For the case involving the couple if the man had responded in a different way say maybe was more interested in the dreams that made the woman quite her job, the woman would have probably passionately described her convictions for what dreams tell about the future,.
The conversation would have gone on and on how other people had dreams that made them avoid disasters. The man would have probably shared some dreams as well and their significance in his life. There would not have been an argument over quitting the job during hard economic times owing to ‘irrational beliefs’. The couple would have agreed that the action taken by the woman was the best for that situation and gone on to encourage themselves that they were going to land another better job for the woman.
Since they had taken it upon themselves to warn themselves of an impending danger then fate would have directed them to another equally good or even better job. The couple would have gone on to explore the gifting of some people who have the ability to tell what the future hold using dreams or even visions. They would also have discussed whether it was appropriate to tell some of her friends working at the building to follow her steps so as to be saved from injury or even death.
They may have even proposed ways of nurturing the gift like reading books or finding other people with the same gift as the woman then forming a support group so to speak. In this case since the man found the idea of quitting a job because of a dream irrational, he may have dismissed it as superstitious when they met later. He would have wished the dream away as a result of what she had been thinking during the day or a movie she had watched. Her mind had just worked on what it had processed during the day and there was real news about the future from the dream.
Believing in dream would have been dismissed with the man saying that if everything that people dreamt had been a forecast of the future then no disasters would have ever hurt anyone as they would be averted in time and save people a lot of grief. The woman on the other hand would defend her case by giving examples of instances when something she had dreamt came true in real life. Apart from this she would argue that the fact that the dream was recurrent it was a clear sign that she needed to take action to avoid the impending danger.
Yes -not all dreams depict the future, but the one that had made her wake up feeling anxious an indication that there was more to it than she had imagined, she would defend herself: She would dismiss lack of treating the dreams she had as important as a sign that one did not believe in supernatural occurrences yet there were many that had been documented in books even in the present day. References Lessa, W. , and Vogt, E. (1958). Reader in comparative religion- An anthropological approach. New York. Row, Peterson and Company.