Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perception is heavily influenced by our living environment because we can become accustomed to our environment and have limited perception due to our limited experience. We only see what is around us in our environment, and are unaware of anything else that may exist outside of that environment. Out perception is limited, for example, in our own cultural environment. The space we live in has an effect on our beliefs and habits. Religion is cultural and limits our perception, because if we are raised with a certain religious belief in our environment, and heavily religious, then our perception becomes altered to look at issues from a spiritual standpoint. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the environment where Rebecca Skloot and Deborah Lacks were raised had an impact on their perception of Henrietta's cancer. Rebecca's upbringing altered her perception to look at the situation from a scientific standpoint, looking at the literal disease itself, rather than the spiritual implications of it, which is how Deborah and Henrietta were raised. They believed that a spiritual deity would watch over and protect them, and that was the only hope they had. Instead, Skloot's environment had her believe in the power of science and medicine as a source of hope. If either one had an upbringing similar to the other, their perception of the disease would have been radically different.

Even my own personal habits are different, (having grown up in Maryland) than someone who had been raised in Florida their entire life. In Maryland, it is common for people to order a snow cone and get marshmallow topping. This was something I was raised with, and everyone I knew did it as well. When I moved, I learned a couple years later that it was a distinctly "Maryland" trait to get marshmallow topping on a snow cone. This really changed my own perception of my cultural habits, because this was something so simple and yet my entire perception of a delicious frozen treat was very different that those of other people because of the space that I lived in.

The difference is most notable in different financial upbringings, because many of us Americans lack the perspective of a life of true poverty. We have become accustomed to tap water, plumbing, supermarket, and always having enough money to keep food on the table. If a child raised in America were asked what life was like in a third world country, they would have no idea because their perception is limited to their life experiences, to a life of luxury and not knowing poverty. Of course, this can be done on a much smaller scale; towns such as Winter Park, which were segregated into areas of rich whites and poor blacks, grew accustomed to segregation and were limited to that way of thinking, making changes even harder to accomplish. Similary, in heavily urbanized areas of the north US, which were anti-slavery since the Civil War, people have eagerly grasped the idea of equal rights and have been raised generally without a strong feeling of racism and supremacy. The area they live in is very different than areas of the south that have been raised in racial hatred and white supremacy, and so the people in these two very different areas have a very different perspective on the issue of race and racial segregation due to the space that they live in.

All in all, your environment that you grow up in has a significant impact on your belief system and your perception on many issues becausse your environment provides the model for your own method of thinking about issues. One thing may be commonplace, and so would not be a big deal, whereas somewhere else it may be seen as a serious offense and provide a lot of thought and problems for a community.

1 comment:

  1. You makes some good points, I especially like how you linked Henritta Lacks into your consideration of the prompt. As we move forward, keep looking for those opportunity to build a broader understanding.