Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Own Interpretations

Mom: I normally don't take much interest in these [Japanese] magazines, but I thought you two might see something in them that I don't.
Dad: (looking at car ads) I love Japanese cars.
Me: I love Japanese people (looking at an ad with Ichiro Suzuki).
Mom: Mika loves me. 

          So what does this interaction teach us, boys and girls? It teaches us that we can all look at the same things and see completely different things. The objects, the phenomena, are physically the same for all of us: my mom, my dad, and I looked at the same magazines; Japanese people are people whose ethnicity/nationality is Japanese. But the meanings and significance of these phenomena differ from person to person. My mom regards the particular magazines as an option of momentary mental escape at the office. My dad consumes the magazines like a scientist who just got his hands on the latest scientific journals; he looks for cutting-edge designs in automobiles, trains, bikes, and architecture and then remarks about how Thailand could really use such ingenuity. And I flip through the magazines, stopping for faces (such as beautiful ones like Ichiro's), featured products, and photography techniques. It's just my nature and what I'm drawn to. Our natures, our personalities, affect our interpretation of phenomena, the subjective meaning we put on the objective. And while my mind was on Ichiro as a Japanese person I admire, my mother's - since she is my mother - was on herself as a Japanese person and a role model to me... Does that make any sense?
Communications 101.

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