Tuesday, November 16, 2010

learning = understanding

This week I attended the lecture on Vodou and its impact on the life and culture of Haitian people told by Dr. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith. The lecture consisted of the common misconceptions that outsiders have about Vodou and what it truly means. The speaker started off telling how all religions stem from African understandings and beliefs and that today hundreds of thousands of people practice Vodou, throughout the world. There have been so many misunderstandings of what this religion truly means to the Haitian people and the impact it has on both the life and culture. He discussed how imperialism brought new religions throughout the world and how Haiti was enslaved with radical views and the attempts to convert the Vodou believers was increasing. Dr. Patrick preached that the eternal soul goes in two directions, the future and the past. He told how believers of different religions usually tend to view believers of other religions quite differently and essentially how people tend to judge things without knowing what they truly mean. It was clearly noted that Vodou is not for every person in the World, but in the lives of those believers, it means a lot.
This discussion left me questioning myself if I judge people of different religions, whether I know anything or not about the religion. I have thought about it and the simple answer would be yes, but it is not a yes saying I think those people are wrong. But rather judging in the sense that I question what it is they believe, because then I may be able to understand what it means to them and its importance.
Relating this to Jack Schaefer’s Shane, it can be understood that life is a learning experience and that you must take advantage of that as much as possible. In the novel, the narrator shows the reader that the young boy, Bob, is going through a great learning experience when Shane enters his family’s lives. Shane is someone that Bob has never seen before and his actions and ways are much different than anyone else in the town. This allows Bob to learn about something completely new and different than anything else he has experienced. By the end of the novel you can see that Bob saw Shane do a lot of different things and handle many different situations, from this he could learn various ways to handle things and make the best of his life. The lecture was essentially saying the same thing, that you need to learn and possibly experience other things before you can fully judge them, because in the end the only way to know and understand something is to learn about what it truly means.

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