"In order to find out how things really are, one must understand the filters through which one perceives the world" Discuss and evaluate this claim.

Essay by rorcky May 2004

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Men perceive the world around them through the means of emotion, reason, language and perception. It is through these means that men learn, perfect and extend their areas of knowing. But the world in which one has lived, the culture and the society where one grew up create filters through which he will perceive the world. These social filters are coloring his personal ways of knowing: they will give a particular flavour to the way he interprets "raw data" he receives from the world around him. The filters create an unconscious bias that goes unnoticed in the person's overall view of the world. To see the world as it really is, with a 'critical eye' or an 'outside view', the filters should be removed.

Filters build up gradually together with one's life experiences and build up of knowledge and system of references. When a person "settles" in his life and becomes more mature, his filters will automatically "settle" as well and form an integral part of his way of reasoning.

No one can avoid those filters to become part of him as they build up unconsciously with various experiences, contacts or problems that one comes to face or meet during his life. Each one of us, without exception, is subject to various kinds of biases linked to his education, family background and social environment. This makes it difficult to think in an unbiased and objective way. One should try to identify, recognize and remove the social and cultural filters he is subjected to.

Filters evolve considerably during the first years of one's life, as they grow on virgin ground. They stabilise as one reaches adult life. They will then most of the time not change. Strong emotional shocks such as traumatic experiences, injuries, loss of a friend or family...