"We see and understand things not as they are but as we are." Describe what the above quote meant.

Essay by MoomooJessHigh School, 12th gradeB+, May 2012

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TOK Essay : "What we see and understand things not as they are, but as we are."

Jess Mihan

While at first thought this seems like an obvious statement, it presents an idea that is at the very core of our existence. This claim suggests that one's understanding of something is based on their interpretation rather than actually is. The statement can be understood that when one gains a new understanding of something, the accumulated information/knowledge is based on what one already knows and one's personal understanding, leaving everything based on bias. For one thing here may be hundreds of different interpretations, because of people's differing perception. This statement touches upon all four ways of knowing: reason, perception, language, and emotion. Furthermore, within these fields, the statement covers many of the linking ideas, including: certainty, evidence, experience, technology, interpretation, truth, and belief.

The issue here is that one person may see an object or situation (for example) but they may perceive it in a different way due to influences on their past.

We then create an understanding of a situation due to our own perception of life and the world around us. There are also factors that can affect our understanding, such as, past experiences, personality, culture, religion and gender. We all act according to our past experiences, whether they are good or bad. When I was 5 my parents divorced, this was very emotional and life-changing experience in my life. It has changed how I feel and understand marriage and what it means in life and society. As a child I grew up believing in "Happily ever afters", true love and soul-mates. However after the divorce I grew up faster then other children, and I stopped believing in fairy tale love, this experience changed how I perceive and understand...