Misperception

In the contemporary world, English is the most predominant language, which at least one-fourth of the entire population of the world can speak. Learning and speaking in English has made us very easy to share our ideas, thoughts, and beliefs with people with different languages, but we do not reckon if the listeners have perceived the same thing what we wanted to tell them. Can’t there be some misperception or misunderstanding or misinterpretation? Of course, there can be.

The way we perceive depends on what kind of society we live in and what kind of culture and tradition we are practicing. For example, in most of the South Asian countries, children are taught not to look into the eyes when they talk to elders because it is a gesture of respect. On the other hand, in Western countries, eye contact while speaking is supposed to be a gesture of respect. The similar thing is the case with the way of speaking and the words we use while talking. For example, when an Israeli person says to a native English speaker, “Your presentation was OK,” he means to say that he does not agree with the native speaker, but he wants to discuss further to get a persuasive deduction. On the contrast, the native speaker perceives, “I didn’t like your presentation” (“Karmona Pragmatic Blog”). Therefore, the environment in which our mind is accustomed to plays a very crucial role in what and how we think.

The misperception problem exists within a family when the parents are immigrants to the countries like the United States, where English is used all the time, and children born there. Similar is the case with Lena St. Clair and her mother in The Joy Luck Club. For instance, the mother points to the mirror saying she could already see her grandchild in her lap via the mirror with an intention of warning Lena not to have pre-marital sex. However, she does not understand it due to her Americanized mind as she was born in America and has been living there since then.

I too, personally, face this problem when I want to express something in English as it is a foreign language for me.

Citation:

Karmona, Moti. Karmona Pragmatic Blog. 2010. Web. 7 Apr. 2011 <http://blog.karmona.com/index.php/2010/09/30/american-israeli-cultural-misinterpretation/>

Altruism never exists on earth.

We hear people talking about altruism, like such and such social worker is very altruistic. I too think like that when I see someone helping other people, and it feels very good. However, after I read the “Iliad 1” from Iliad by Homer, I am compelled to think that even the Gods are not altruistic how can human beings be altruistic? Gods have divine power; they can do whatever they want, but again they are selfish. They use their supernatural powers for their own benefit. For example, as mentioned in Iliad, Queen of the Olympian gods, Hera and Goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle, Athena supported the Achaeans (Greeks) in the Trojan War because they were furious with Paris, the prince of Troy. Paris had abducted Helen, queen of Sparta by seducing her. Therefore, they wanted the Trojans to be destroyed and supported the Greeks. Similarly, Apollo, God of music and the arts, supported only those who worshipped him. He unleashed plague on the Greeks as they did not worship him.

As I was reading Iliad together with my friends in Reading and Writing class, I was thinking about Selfish Gene Theory, in other words, Gene Centered View of Evolution. This theory states that the genes, the hereditary factor in living beings, compete among themselves in escalating the number of alleles for the better inheritance of the characters they possess. I was wondering that we are built of these selfish genes, then how can we be altruistic by nature?

I want to illustrate more pragmatically for the fact that altruism does not exist on this earth. Let us consider a president of a country. He is the one who is the most powerful person in his entire nation, but again he corrupts; he conspires against his own motherland. Is that altruism? Of course, not. The powerful people do not use their prowess for the welfare of the mankind; rather they are more concerned about themselves. Even the lovers love their partners purposefully, that is, with an expectation to be loved back. For example, in “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein, the tree wants the boy to love her back, so she gives all her body parts when the boy needs. Indeed, each and every activity of human beings has a purpose, and that was God’s character, rather than human’s character as the trend has been in practice far before the creation of human beings.

Gesture

People show various gestures when they talk, walk, and do any other activity according to their moods and according to circumstances. However, one cannot create a completely new gesture that belongs to nobody. In fact, gestures belong to nobody, and they belong to everybody. For example, a boy proposes a girl with a bouquet of red roses in his hand and with one of his kneels on the ground. The boy’s face exhibits a mixture of perplexity and nervousness. Fortunately, the girl smiles widely and accepts the proposal being impressed by his gesture. However, does the gesture of the boy belong merely to him? Of course, not! Nor is the girl’s smile a part of her individual charm; it could be a crucial character of another person.

Gestures are like traditions; they transfer from person to person. The people from whom we copy gestures are not necessarily our parents, family members, teachers, and friends. They can even be the people whom we do not know. We, students attend several conferences and meetings and visit various places for research works; hence, we meet people from different parts of the world with different gestures. Sometimes, we get fascinated by someone’s gesture so much that we try to imitate his or her gesture. For example, in our last AUW symposium, I was spellbound by Hans Rosling’s presentation. The way he spoke and the way he had organized his presentation awestruck not only me but also almost all the attendees of the symposium. I am quite sure that people who attended the conference have impacts of his gestures knowingly or unknowingly. Nevertheless, it is not impartial to say that those are his own gestures; there may be other people also having the similar gestures.

Similar is the case with the narrator and an old and ugly woman in the novel, “Immortality” by Milan Kundera. The narrator encounters the woman at a pool. She is learning to swim with a lifeguard. When it is time for her to return home, she turns back to the lifeguard and waves him goodbye with a sweet smile and charm in her face like that of a twenty-year-old girl. The narrator gets captivated by her charming gesture, but later, he reckons that the gesture is not her own; others also may show the similar gesture. Thus, he concludes that it is not her own gesture.

Charity

How will you feel if a person comes to you and gives you some money to get better off in your pitiful circumstance? How will you feel if someone gives you new clothes when you are wearing torn clothes? How will you feel if an organization helps you when a flood victimizes you? How will you feel when someone bestows you a sponsorship to study in a high school at the time of your need? These are all examples of charity for good purposes and for good reasons. This evokes rays of happiness, hope, and joy to the receivers. People or organizations whoever are involved in such helpful works are always highly praised and privileged.

However, how will you feel if someone gives you hand-me-down clothes as a charity? How will you feel if someone gives you leftovers to eat? How will you feel if someone gives you an already used chess set lacking some pawns as a Christmas gift? Certainly, it’s a humiliation rather than a charity, and nobody likes being humiliated. It’s true that you are poor, that you have hard time to fulfill daily requirements, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need sympathy and pity. This is the very case with Lindo Jong in “Rules of the Game.”

In a Christmas party, Lindo Jong’s son, Vincent gets a chess set as a gift from a so called Santa Claus. It is an old chess set which has already lost some of its elements. Hence, it’s obvious that they got the chess set as a charity with humiliation but not a gift with affection. Therefore, Lindo Jong tells Vincent to throw away the chess set as the chess set is a symbol of sympathy, humiliation, and pity.

There is a vast difference between a charity and a gift. A charity is given to the people who need and a gift is given to beloved ones. Within charity also, there are a charity with affection and a charity with humiliation. These two also differ from one another tremendously. A charity with affection is incorporated with compliment, tribute, joy, and happiness, while a charity with humiliation incorporates with inequality, emotional torture, and hatred.

Responnse to “The Way We Age Now”

I read the article, “The Way We Age Now.” As I went through the article, I, suddenly, happened to think that I am too aging in every second of time. The more I read about the changes in different body parts, the more I felt I am aging. I moved my fingers through my hair thinking this hair will turn gray one day. Similarly, I felt my eyes lovingly wondering, “What will happen if I am not able to see with my eyes?” A series of questions arose in my mind regarding other body organs.

However, I reminisced about “The Pursuit of Immortality” that I read in Reading and Writing class last week. I thought, “The scientists are researching and experimenting to find out tactics to alter the ‘natural law of death.’ They have made progress much further. Therefore, there must be ways of not aging too as it is very simple matter in comparison to the challenge to death.” Later, I came to realize that aging can be decelerated, but cannot be ceased utterly. Moreover, we can remain healthy and live independent life even in our seventies and eighties.

In the article, Atul has mentioned about “Geriatrics.” Atul has supported his arguments giving an example of a geriatrician, Felix Silverstone. Felix was in his eighties, but still, he was robust, healthy, and independent. Most surprisingly, he supported and looked after his blind wife though he, himself, is in his eighties. While I was reading this, I was interrogating with my mind, “Felix’s wife was blind due to aging, but he is still strong enough to help and support his wife and even to drive car. From this anecdote, may it be implied that aging occurs only to women? Why was only his wife blind? Why not he?” In the course of reading, I found out that there is a very easy way of not getting old – of keeping our body parts as they are. The tactic is that we should have of a wish of not getting old and a strong determination to make that wish come true. Here, determination constitutes maintaining balance diet, doing regular exercise, and doing regular health checkups.

So far as I know, there are also medical and surgical methods not to age. Hence, people in the present era age in the speed of a turtle pace.

Death in the Freezer (Cryonic suspension)

In the course of teaching about various tactics of immortality, our teacher introduced about cryonic suspension to us. I knew I had heard of it before, but when she spoke it out, I was bewildered what cryonic suspension means. Later she explained it briefly that it is a process in which a person is kept in liquid nitrogen under a freezing temperature so that he can be retrieved back to life in the future, and I reminisced about a novel, “Death in the Freezer.”

The novel starts with a line, “I killed my dead brother.” In the story, Al and Ellen are brother and sister respectively. Previously, they share very happy lives with love, care, and respect for one another. Later, Ellen gets married to a man and lives an unhappy life with her husband and children. On the contrary, her brother, Al becomes a star in a rock band and has a very prosperous and luxurious life. Therefore, she is envious of his wealth and success.

Nevertheless, Al is a drug addict and is infected by AIDS, so he decides to undergo cryonic suspension so that he could be brought back to life when there will be a cure for AIDS. He authorizes the Cryonic Company for his wealth until that time, but this becomes intolerable to Ellen as she is his only one family member who has the right to his property. Hence, she plots a plan to kill him. She decides to switch off the cryonic machine when Al is inside it, and she does it after few months of the cryonic suspension. Later police accuse her of murder, but her lawyer claims that the people who put Al in cryonic machine are murderers. Her lawyer convinces the judge saying that no human being can survive in such a freezing temperature without eating anything for such a long time.

However, in court, another surprising fact gets disclosed that Ellen used to give Al syringes of slow poison which she stole from hospital where she was a nurse. Eventually, Ellen is imprisoned for killing her own brother.

I felt very pity on Ellen. It is true that she tries to kill his brother by using slow poison, but he dies because of cryonic suspension rather than the slow poison. Hence, in my opinion cryonic suspension is a way to death but not the way to immortality.

Does my grandmother also think the way the narrator thinks? (Response to “On Aging”)

“On Aging” is an immensely provocative poem written by Maya Anglou. She has expressed the feelings of an elderly woman who does not want others to show her pity and sympathy because of her old age. The poem is in the second person point of view. Therefore, everytime I read the poem, the very words in the poem echo in my ears as if an elderly person is commanding me not to do this and that. To be more specific, I get obsessed by the memory of my grandmother. I remember how I talked, joked, laughed, and played with my grandmother. At the same time, in one corner of my mind, I think, ”Are the things mentioned in the poem applicable to my grandmother also?”, “Does she not like the way I help, talk, and give company to her?” On the contrary, my heart retorts, “NO!” Then I again begin to think that she appreciates my each and every activity, how can she recon like that?

For the confirmation of the answers to my queries, I reminisce the moments I spent with my grandmother. Before all, I remember the moments I massaged her hands and legs softly every evening. She does not tell me to massage her legs and hands, but I do so because I want her to have a relaxed and sound sleep. I still remember her grinning face. She looks so pleased and relaxed and so do I when I see a subtle smile in her face while I am massaging. Furthermore, I remember me fetching water up to the kitchen. I feel really very glad when I can help my grandmother in her works. When I help her, I encounter an immense optimism in her face – maybe she thinks there is somebody who cares me much, and I feel ecstatic thinking that somebody is me.

However, again I also remember that she never makes me work by herself; she does her work on her own. It is me who go to help her myself though she has not sought for help. These thoughts again make me skeptical if my grandmother also thinks the way the narrator talks about in the poem, but again her smiling and vivid face comes in front of my eyes, thereby deleting all my dubiousness. Thus, I got a conclusion that my grandmother does not think the way the narrator thinks.

Chitra and My Mother

Year’s End

I enjoyed reading the novel, “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri. I am much impressed by the skillful and persuasive organization and plots of the events in the novel. However, I am not satisfied with the marriage of Kaushik’s father and Chitra. While I was going through “Year’s End,” a number of questions were lingering in my mind. Some of the questions are: “Is Chitra really so much helpless that she has to marry Kaushik’s father?”, “Why don’t Chitra and Kaushik’s father think about their children?”, “Why don’t they recon how their children will feel about their marriage at such an old age?”, and “Do people have to remarry to revert to joy and happiness if one of the spouses dies?”

When I was reading “Year’s End,” I had my mother’s image in my mind comparing with each and every moment of Chitra with my mother’s life. Unlike Chitra, my mother is a divorcee, and she works in a low- paying job. Nevertheless, she is very optimistic and hopeful that she will have a vivid future. She strongly loathes remarriage, as she is much concerned about my life, career, and feelings.

According to Lahiri, Chitra keeps her daughter under a terror. They are much afraid of her as Chitra is so strict that they never had an experience of buying anything on their own. However, my mother is very liberal. She discusses and shares with me about every issue in my family. Besides, though Chitra is a school teacher and has an ample chance to build a bright future, she becomes hopeless to live on her own after her husband’s demise and gets married to Kaushik’s father. Is it because of gender stereotype that women will have gloomy future if their husbands are dead? Is it because husbands are supposed to be women’s fortune? In the contrary, my mother recons that she ought to be strong enough to live an independent life. Though she is illiterate and does not have a qualified life now, she hopes that she will have a better life in the future. The most exciting and praiseworthy thing is that she wants me to be an independent and well- established person before I get married, so that I won’t be left bewildered and helpless if anything happens in the future.

Hello!

Hello dear friends,

                  I am so excited to share our ideas amid us through this bolg. Good luck!

Kalpana (Yellow)