Tuesday, March 6, 2012

hello. my name is ellie and i am...

warning: this contains lots of musings on life.

Reification. to regard or treat an abstract as if it had concrete or material existence.

if there was ever a class that has changed my life it is SFL 480 with Terry Olson. i love it. love love LOVE it. it is a moral development class. we talk about how we make moral or immoral decisions. we talk about the quality of our hearts when acting. we talk about how we live and how we are human.

on Friday we talked about a concept of reification. Reification is a flaw in moral theory. It is when we take something that should be an adjective and turn it into a noun. We use these adjectives to define people rather than see them for what they are. People use these definitions often as a scapegoat. Example: a study was done on marriages with unmet expectations. If your expectations weren't met you were defined as having dissatisfaction (i think that was what it was). A person can then say "we have a bad marriage because of dissatisfaction." no no no. you have a bad marriage because you are not working to have a good one. you are looking at the 10 percent they don't do rather than the 90 percent they do. People forget that it is a choice. We have moral agency meaning we can choose how we act, choose how we view the world. We are not victims of the world. But when we define people it can a) give them something to blame. I'm bossy because im a Red personality. or b) makes people feel trapped or like they are failing because they are not living up to the definition they have been given. example: you have been told you are outgoing your whole life. you go to college and you're suddenly feeling shy. identity crisis?

personal application. flash back two years. i am heart broken. life is falling apart (or so it seemed in my eyes). i feel sad. alone. and  felt broken. literally. moral of the story. not feeling very happy. My whole life I had been defined as being happy, smiley, bubbly, or any other synonym you can think of. I didn't feel any of those things. I remember walking into my apartment one day and falling apart because I felt like Alex had taken a part of me and ruined it. I wasn't happy, that's how i was defined. I remember sitting in a ward council and the bishop making a comment about how it was like this girl in the ward had taken "ellie pills" because she was suddenly soo happy in dating this guy. Compliment right? I responded rudely with "Im not always happy." I apologized to the bishop months later, he had thought nothing of it. But I had thought about how rude I had been over the next few months. Why when he was complimenting me did I not feel happy? It was because of reification. I felt defined by happiness and when I was not happy I felt like a part of me was missing.

Learning about reification helped to explain the fallacy i was feeling. We spent the rest of the class talking about how you talk to people without defining them. It reminded me of modesty at efy. We talked for a good hour before the summer about how we would address the issue. The key thing we decided on was the fact that they are not immodest. The way they are dressing doesn't meet the efy dress and grooming standards. But as soon as you say "you are immodest" you have labeled them. They might be the most modest girl in there school, they might be trying their hardest to be modest. It is hard to not define people, it is hard to not feel like you have been defined. but we have moral agency. we are trapped by nothing. Richard G. Scott says "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." You can be whomever you want to be- just make the changes in your life. I guess that means you can never say "I wish I was..." (unless physical i guess, no matter how hard i wish i was taller im stuck at 5'2") If you wish you didn't have a temper- you can change stop. It reminds me of the forum by Benjamin Carson last week. He was labeled as being stupid in elementary school and now is one of the most famous neuro-surgeons.

moral of the story: life is great. make the most of the time you have. be the person you want to be. you are not defined by anyone but yourself.

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