Cannibalized Reality

When truth is nothing more than subjective experience, it’s not truth at all. I have this problem talking in person about politics with friends on both the right and the left (which is why I don’t do it often). It’s not so much that it’s hard for them to separate their personal feelings from a discussion of facts and principles (though it is). It’s that they don’t even seem to try. And because of that, it’s all to easy to go from “you disagree with me” to “you’re insulting me” and/or “you’re rejecting me.”

Forget about politics. The creepiest situation is when people do this in work-related discussions.

“I don’t find this textbook to be particularly useful in the teaching of object pronouns because it introduces them throughout three different chapters and students seem to find it confusing.”

“I worked so hard on selecting this textbook! We had a whole committee where we dedicated endless hours to analyzing textbooks! We killed ourselves choosing the best possible one. I feel completely disrespected that you would just casually dismiss the fruit of your colleagues’ hard work over an extended period of time! You can hate the textbook but you don’t have to disrespect your colleagues like this.”

“Erm. I just meant that object pronouns. . . Erm. Forget about it.”

Somehow, people manage to weave their work on a textbook-selecting committee into the fabric of their very selves. And I find it very scary.

The self has cannibalized reality and perceives any attempt to engage with reality as an unwelcome rummaging in its entrails.


2 thoughts on “Cannibalized Reality”

  1. To play devils’ advocate… I HATE textbooks that introduce a whole bunch of similar material at the same time whether it’s 28 body parts you won’t remember or 37 things found in a kitchen or every single object pronoun.

    I much prefer third person pronouns and a couple of body parts and couple of things found in the kitchen in each chapter.

    But I totally agree on the uselessness of ‘lived experience’ (ie subjective first person impressions) as anything but subjective first person impressions not necessarily shared by anyone else in the universe.


    1. I agree. I almost never use our textbooks and rely, instead, on my own original activities. But I’ve had this discussion about all kinds of issues and it doesn’t matter how trivial they seem, the reaction is always like this. There are no borders between self and everything else because borders are bad, fluidity is good, and as a result, everything around one is subsumed in the fluid self.

      We’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy here in Seattle and what’s especially striking is that intelligent, successful, ultra educated adults on the show treat their very small children as insignificant objects that need to be shoved around to accommodate the needs of the constantly expanding, desiring self. And this is portrayed as completely normal.


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