We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are

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TOK Prescribed Title essay
”We see and understand things not as they are but as we are.” Discuss this claim in relation to at least two ways of knowing.

This essay will attempt to show that the title claim is correct. In order to do this an analysis will be made to show how ways of knowing such as sense perception, emotion and reason have an impact on how the knower perceives reality and the world. This task will be carried out while taking into account the areas of knowledge and analyzing the way that humans produce their claims. Cultural views, past experiences and authority affect the way individuals create opinions and understand “new” things in their surroundings and the world at large. Although two people may see things similarly, the understanding and value of the object will be completely different. This is why most of the time we do not understand ‘something’ in itself; instead, we see and understand ‘it’ as we are. We see objects and are not necessarily able to understand them the way they are. A reason for this might be that humans are unable to accept new information without inherent conditioning of their previous knowledge claims. An example of this is the disease anorexia nervosa. Someone who is anorexic has a distorted perception of his/her body - they see their bodies as they see themselves and not for what they truly are. Anorexia is a symptom of a society which constantly promotes a culture of beauty through media. With an increased population of children who spend a lot of time in front of television, there are more of them coming up with a superficial sense of who they are and what they need to look like. Images on T.V. and magazines spend countless hours telling us to lose weight to be thin and beautiful. The facts are that “The average woman model weighs up to 25% less than the typical woman and maintains a weight at about 15 to 20 percent below what is considered healthy for her age and height.”(Eating Disorders and the Media) An...
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