Saturday, June 13, 2009

May I Provide a Little Context

I've made a presumption. But now I have doubt. I have always thought to have more context is to better understand. I know I wish people didn't hear out of context things that my children say, like, "My Woody was upside down and then it felled off."

But I just read a book that rocked what I think about context. In fact, I'd say the more context the book offered, the more I waffled in my opinions about the characters. And then because I over analyze absolutely everything I do, I started wondering how much the idea of context has influenced everything from the justice system to public education. (Seriously, I'm weird.)

Those of us who believe we guide our decisions with a moral compass should continually evaluate the coordinate system we use to establish our standards for judging or deciding right from wrong. Well this is what I thought until I read, Reluctant Fundamentalist. Now I'm starting to battle with the realization that our internal compass probably doesn't determine right from wrong. It only helps us stomach the outcome.

The book itself is written from the perspective of a Pakistani, and yet the experience of the American he meets is understood. Just go read it. But it's not just that thrice-accursed book (yes, it freaked me out that much). I also watched Doubt. Oh that movie left me beside myself -- and not for the reasons you're thinking. So, if like me you'd like to put your brain in a twist, seek out some mind benders like Doubt (for those who have about 2hours to devote to provocation) or Reluctant Fundamentalist (for those with about a week to cloud issues). And if you really want to rock your world, pick up A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City--A Diary.
You'll never think about war the same, again.
Good luck and let me know what you think.

PS -- In case you'd like more context, Woody is the star of Disney's Toy Story.


laurel said...

You are smart.

Angenette said...

I'm going to find that book.

Doubt was the cause of much debate in my house amongst my friends. I like debate. A little. Especially if it doesn't have to do with religion or politics in Utah (I'll gladly debate those topics out of utah, just not in the general vicinity).