Social Construct

I like the idea that we all are constantly constructing our own reality. We interpret raw data and have to see it through a frame to make sense of it all. If we had no frame the data would be nonsensical. It seems that we aren’t in control of the frame we use to see the world. In fact, we aren’t even aware of it. Many “truths” that we believe to be objective are instead mere elements of our subjective construction. For instance, it may be a result of our institution that women behave differently than men in society. Institutions are collective social constructs. Our collective institutions in America were here long before we were. We grew up with them. They influence, but at the same time we influence the institution. The collective social agreements about reality are always changing and morphing. This is why we are different now than people were in antebellum America. People made changes to the way we think, what we accept as truth, and the roles we play. -Carl Miller


Making Ideas Concrete

I’ve been making an attempt lately to put my ideas into pictures. It’s proven more difficult than I thought. Have you ever tried to explain the idea of offense being more effective than defense in war solely using symbols and icons? It’s hard. I’ve also tried to encourage my children to impart this practice, but I’m not sure that I’m explaining things the right way.

We read short histories or summaries of philosophical ideas and then try to draw them before explaining them to each other. I tell them to try and find the central idea and draw that…it doesn’t have to encompass everything in the story. For instance, we might read about the Spanish Conquistadors. I’ll draw a small globe and have King Ferdinand standing on top of it with one foot on Spain and the other on South America. Bam! One picture – simple. Central idea captured. But they draw one frame with a king on a throne, another with a boat sailing to America, then some cavalrymen with guns fighting against men with spears, and after that bunch of dead people.

I can’t get them to see a central point. Is that an age thing. Does youth brain development prohibit a child from seeing a singular point in stories? Does that mean that they don’t understand morals behind stories? Just wondering. I’d like to try and make the ideas from these histories stick in their minds, and I hear that if you encode using multiple forms (verbal, literary, pictorial) then it sticks better. –Carl Miller