I, being myself, said something a little silly today. My roommate’s girlfriend asked for some clarification about something I had said, saying that my statement was one that was prone to a common misconception. I retorted that I did not have misconceptions. I was being sarcastic, hyperbolic, and perhaps a little snide, but later, I was thinking about a challenge posed to me in the form of an (ironically enough, misconceived) obvious example of a misconception; I had noticed that my roommate’s food contained shrimp. I stared at the shrimp for a second before I said aloud “Oh, that’s a shrimp.” My roommate responded with “I thought you didn’t have misconceptions.”
Here’s the thing, that wasn’t a misconception. I hadn’t actually conceived of the shrimp as something other than a shrimp. My questioning was part of the process of my perception of the crustacean. To say “oh, that’s a shrimp” is not to exhibit a prior misconception of the thing that turned out to be a shrimp. It’s an exhibition of the result of understanding and correctly processing the sensory data that led me to conclude that the item I was staring at was a shrimp. I had perceived that the thing I was staring at was a shrimp. I had no prior conception that shrimps were things other than what they are, and I hadn’t formed misconceptions about what the thing on the plate was. I simply hadn’t given any thought to the sensory data that allowed me to identify that the thing which I later determined to be a shrimp even existed. This led me to think on things other than shrimp.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our perceptions of people who hold differing Opinions. I capitalize Opinions to emphasize that I’m writing here about things that shape the way we live our lives: our religions, our politics, and our ethnic backgrounds (among other things that I’ve surely forgotten to list). I strive to treat other people in the best way possible. I don’t mean that I always ascribe the best of intentions to their actions, but I do mean that I try not to assume that I know why people act in certain ways.
The tribalism that we so often see on Twitter, in politics, and scattered throughout our various forms of media exhibits itself in our everyday lives, at least it does in mine. I see people voicing uninformed or misinformed opinions about others whilst simultaneously casting those people as the “bad guys” who have the worst intentions. It seemed to me that those people had misconceived the intentions of others, but now I’m no so sure that’s it.
So what’s my point? Why did I start off talking about shrimp and end on a ramble about the biases that people hold? I’m not sure, but I think I may have noticed something today about the way that we perceive others. I’m not sure that many of the so-called misconceptions that we hold are those at all. I think that we often view others as maliciously holding on to misconceptions of those who they view as the other, while in reality, they haven’t properly conceived of the other person in the first place.
It seems that when people see others of opposing political affiliation, they tend to discount the worth of the words that person could share. They ascribe the worst intentions, and then they use the preconceived notions that fit the political label to describe the rest of the person. Before today, I would have said that the person judging the other had severe misconceptions, but I now think that the problem is one even more fundamental. Instead of dealing with misconceptions of shrimp, we can’t even see the shrimp for what it is. My roommate should have told me that I may not have had misconceptions, but I obviously have a problem with misperceptions. I think that our problem is that we have conceptions of labels, we perceive a person as falling under a label, and then fail to try to conceive of the ideas that the person himself holds.
So, yeah. That’s what I thought about tonight.
I do believe I have a serious problem, particularly pertaining to my desk(s). I simply cannot seem to keep them organized. I have a fairly decent system. Books go in a pile in the corner, pens go in that cup, other pens go in that other cup… more pens go in the other three cups. (I have a lot of pens.) I just can’t seem to maintain that system. It’s never a conscious rebellion; I just place something on my desk, and soon it’s invited all of its friends and relatives to the party. “Oh, hello Laser Pointer! I heard that we’re having a Hang Out on Chris’ Desk Party,” said the stapler to the laser pointer.
It’d be pretty awesome if my desk was somewhat sentient. I don’t want it to be completely so, but maybe just enough to the point that when I placed something out of place, it would rebel and knock it off or incinerate it or something. “RAWR! You do not belong here, shoelaces!” *fwoosh* And thus I had to buy new shoelaces… again.
Though, I suppose that could be a problem. If my desk were intelligent enough to distinguish between acceptable objects and not, then I might have larger problems on my hands than just untidiness. The Night of the Living Desks. Also, desk civil rights?
But seriously, I’m not sure that I’ll ever really solve this problem. I think it might be genetic. Somewhere in the Human Genome Sequence is a thread for tendencies towards having untidy desks. I’m sure all the important scientists are working on the problem now. Right? Of course right!
And now for something completely different.
I feel that I have neglected Pop Tarts for far too long now. My heart has yearned to write of them, and my taste buds have longed for the sensations of their delightfulfullness and magnificence. My toaster has sat waiting patiently, yet mournfully. My cabinets, though by no means empty, have long looked as though they’re missing some vital component. These very words pain me to write, yet I feel that I must. Maybe I’ll pick some up at Walmart today…
Bye for now!
A topic which is very dear to my heart has recently invaded my mind as a matter of some import, for, you see, I realized that I have completely and utterly ignored this most important of items when writing in this blog. I did a quick review, and I found that I have designated exactly no posts to this extremely vital…. thing. Coffee. Yes, that nectar of the Fortunate Isles. The Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey, and one can only speculate that this was so that the Israelites’ coffee would not be barren. Coffee is that beverage that greets me when I awaken and is still ready for a sip before I settle down for the evening. Coffee goes with virtually every desert that doesn’t contain fruit, and chocolate, that wonderful food from the heavens, is one of coffee’s constant companions. Coffee can be enjoyed by one’s self, or it can be partaken of by an entire army. Water and fire are both needed to create it, and a host of additions can be made. Sugars, honeys, dairies, and an entire consortium of flavors can be combined to create any manner of coffee derivative, but in the end, it is still a coffee. I have compiled a list of possible things to do with coffee. Here it is.
- Use it in a cake. Yes, you could have coffee cake, coffee icing, coffee chips, coffee, um, flavor…
- Take a bath in it. Because everybody likes someone who smells like coffee. (It just might be a tad bit sticky…)
- Roast a bunch of coffee, pour it out, and repeat. ‘Cause really, the best part of coffee is the smell.
- Spread it in the lower atmosphere to create coffee rain. (IDK if that’s possible, but NASA, now that you’re not busy with moon stuff, wanna try it?)
- Make a deeply philosophical and socially-relevant music video about it.
- Build a castle. Surround said castle with a moat. Fill moat with coffee. Paint angry alligator faces on coffee beans and float them in the moat.
- Float rubber duckies in it, because rubber duckies like coffee, too.
- Use it in a Super Soaker during a water fight. They’ll never see it coming. >.>
- Feed it to a class of pre-schoolers, and then run away very quickly.
- Write a blog post about it.
While such a short list is prohibitive and really insufficient to truly cover the boundless opportunities provided by such a wondrous substance, I really must end this post at some point. So, I regret to announce, this is the End. I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.
(Until next time…)