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Concepts are very complex definitions of everything that we see in everyday life. They are also typically never specific. Concepts of a certain thing or idea might and most probably will change if the person examining the object or idea changes his point of view. Various authors throughout the textbook have written about the different ways we could see things if we don’t close ourselves to what we can only see.
One of the authors that talk about this is S.I Hayakawa. His main point in his article is how he stressed to tell us to be more creative, and that we shouldn’t blindly follow what media outlets like the ones on TV because we’re becoming like sheep. He argues that one with creativity best be prepared to endure loneliness and ridicule. He says, and this is very correct, that because of what we see on things like the media, we’re just told to follow what they say is right, and because of that, if one person dares to exclaim otherwise, then he or he will be getting cast away from other people. It’s ok to have a different opinion of things, and he encourages it, because creative people are going to be the most successful in life.
Another great way to compare concepts is in Simon Benlow’s paper, “Have it your way,” he argues that students are being seen differently now, that is, companies are starting to have different concepts of kids at school, because they’re not being seen as what they are: students. Rather, they feel much more like consumers now. Also, kids from a young age have been catered to their every need, and because of that, when they get to college they find out that they weren’t as good as they thought they were, because of tailoring education for students.
The essay “What is education?” by Petra Pepellashi is a perfect example of how two concepts could differ. Here, she uses the education when it was first introduced in the country. She tells about how Jefferson’s point of view of education was much different from what the child education laws going on today. In the end though, the US government ended up selecting the rich guys to choose it, and they chose their own concept of education, one where students are just there to learn how to become a businessman or factory worker.
Interpreting concepts in different ways can also lead us to false expectations. Take Daniel Bruno’s essay, “Entitlement Education,” for example. In the essay, he points out how students “have a sense of entitlement,” in other words, that after so many times of turning in work that they didn’t put much effort into and getting good grades for them, they feel they deserve better grades than what they get in college. This involves concepts because, while the student thinks the paper deserves a better grade, in the view of the teacher, he could have done much better. This shows that different people can define concepts or ideas as different things, and it could bring problems to them.
The same problem is presented in Paul Roberts’ “How to Say Nothing in 500 words.” Students think that their idea of a good 500 page essay is just writing and filling up as much space as they possibly can, and when they get back their papers, it’s always a big surprise to them when they get something like a D as a grade.
Susan Jacoby’s essay, “When Bright Girls Decide That Math is a ‘Waste of Time,’” is a great example of the difference in what people think about concepts. In this case, it talks about how society sees what classes boys and girls usually take, and more deeply, how society’s ideals for each gender is something that the vast majority of individuals follow.
Jacoby cites a good example by showing how if a girl would go to her parents and ask if she can drop her science and math classes because she was looking more into art or history in college, and the parents say they’re ok with it. Ultimately, what Jacoby is trying to say is that because of these decisions where women aren’t given the proper motivation to study more technical classes, it’s crippling the improvement of women’s overall quality of life in the future, since they probably won’t earn the same as other people who know more about science and math (like men do.)
Lastly, in Doris Lessing’s “Group Minds,” she explains how the way we conceptually think about us as members of the western world is very far from reality. As she denotes, a westerner views himself as a free individual who think and does as he pleases, when the truth is that he thinks accordingly to what other people are thinking. In the end, the concept of the westerner as we regularly see it differs from what the truth really is.
So, to sum up, concepts, or the ideas and ways we see things, can differ greatly, depending on each person. It’s important to know that this is perfectly normal, as we are free thinkers, but it is also important that we don’t cause problems by having different views on things, as was shown in some examples on this paper.