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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” A statement so veridical, that the people to whom it implies are either not capable of understanding it or simply cannot accept it. In fact, most of humanity can read the undeniably prodigious quote ad infinitum, without comprehending the profound meaning behind it.
There are four types of individualities, each reacting to the quote in a different manner. And how individuals react to it, determines their general responses to the situations which life brings upon them.
Innocent minds are unable to adequately understand the significance of the quote. Because of their naivety, they are neither able to respond intelligibly to the quote, nor to most situations in life. They are gullible and non-opinionative, thus, only seeing what others want them to see. The majority of people so caracterised are infants and young children. They fail to look at things from various perspectives because they have not yet had enough experience in life.
For instance, if you speak of war with a child, he or she will not know how to respond. The mind of the person is too young for knowing what to do when spoken to about political conflicts, patriotisms, warfare, death and other serious matters. In most situations, their innocent, unsophisticated minds, simply cannot understand the difference between wrong and right until they develop into more sophisticated beings.
Ignorant people avoid thinking about anything which does not concern them personally. These people apparently have the ability to see, but because of their personality, are unable to.
Until they start caring, they will not be able to see things which demand care, because they are not yet ready. Many adolescents and unsuccessful people would fall into this category. And why I stereotype many unsuccessful people is due to the fact that they are ignorant to education and in time, fail to succeed in life. Education is the knowledge of life, and if avoided, results in failure at it. If again, you mention war to an ignorant being, he or she will dismiss the subject before it could reach the brain’s thinking process. These personalities could never go below the surface of the topic.
Stubbornness is similar to ignorance, but not quite the same. The stubborn will not hesitate to dive into the ocean, but will never reach the bottom so they can examine it in depth. These people will hear a topic; they will think about the topic; but before looking at it from another viewpoint, their stubbornness will compel them to form a prejudice opinion. These would be the people who, when spoken to of war, will take a stand on one side before examining the other. For example, if America is warring with Iraq, many stubborn Americans will support their leader no matter how immoral his actions may be. Same would imply to the stubborn Iraqis, who will deny the fact that their leader was corrupt without visualizing him from his victims’ perspective. Because they are the citizens of their country, they will overlook its faults and never question their government’s actions, thus, diving into the situation, but only going half way down, because that is what they are prepared to see, therefore, that is what they see.
The realists see everything and accept it as it is. They have the power to make unbiased decisions and opinions. These are the people who will stand up for what they believe in. They are logical and open-minded. A realist would dive into the ocean, go to the bottom, take time to look at everything in depth, then, and only then, will form an opinion backed by much reasoning. Realists can see everything. Their minds have no road blocks blocking information from entering and processing through their brains. A realist will look at Emerson’s quote and completely comprehend its meaning.
To what depth you understand this essay will determine how ready your mind is to accept the facts stated in it. Literally, you will see everything on these pages. However, mentally, your mind will comprehend only the details herein, for which it is prepared to accept. If you have read this far, you certainly are not ignorant; you have already gone below the surface of the quote. If you have understood and accepted everything, congratulations, you are in fact, a realist! If not, time may be the remedy to your innocence or stubbornness.
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