Rashomon Essay


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Rashomon Essay

  1. 1. Michael Pollock March 08, 2012 “... I do not believe that truth is subjective”. Morris makes his position very clear, and if anyconfusion still exists he goes on, saying, “Just thinking about something does not make it so. This ideathat there is no reality, that truth is up for grabs, or that truth is subjective, I find foolish andunappetizing”. He makes a very simple point that there is a truth, a single truth, and no matter what onethinks, that truth still stands. He considers himself a realist, that no matter what conclusion we come to,whether it is true or false, there is still a single true answer that exists. We may never know exactly howthe universe began, but we do know that it did start. He would argue that there exists a single answer,no matter how many postulates exist. When it comes to Rashomon, he sticks to his thesis and claimsthat there is one true answer to how the event played out. He believes that the real truth is most likely acombination of each story. Morris believes that due to the imperfect nature of our senses, each of the stories in Rashomonare true. This relates to one of the ways of knowing, perception. The reason for the difference in storiesare due to the fact that “everybody sees the world differently”, specifically due to the difference in theexpectations and minds of the perceiver. Two people can look at the same rorschach test and seedifferent things, in fact, theyre supposed to. However Morris tells the reader that “the claim thateverybody sees the world different is not a claim that theres no reality”. Ebert would say that eachperception of reality is in fact real for that person. On the contrary, Morris believes that there is a singlereality but that each person might distort that reality for themselves. This is an issue of mentalmapping. Just because we perceive something different from one another doesnt mean it actually isdifferent, just like there is only one layout of Earth no matter how we represent it, whether on flat paperor a spherical globe. Another issue that can affect peoples views of the world are their emotions.
  2. 2. Our second way of knowing is by gut feeling, or emotion, but obviously this is very open anddifferent from person to person. Morris uses the example of a woman who wants to be a detective. Shehappens to be around a lot of murders, or does she? Just because she is emotionally connected to crime,she feels as if it occurs more around her. Its likely that she simply keeps herself more aware of crimesin her area due to her interest in them. This changes her reality, however Morris explains that it doesntchange the true reality. If she wasnt interested in being a detective, the murders would still happen, inthe same locations and in the same quantity as they do currently. She wouldnt feel as if there were asmany, simply because she wouldnt be aware of as many. This is one way which our minds can befooled into seeing reality differently. Its a matter of perspective, and our emotions can change thatperspective. Some people are so affected by this that they blame themselves for suicides or accidents.They consider themselves murderers, no matter how large or small their involvement in the matter is.This makes eye witnesses hard to trust completely, hence there generally need to be more than one.Even then, some witnesses will simply repeat and agree with other witnesses in order to maintain orderand not be singled out. Ebert might take each of those separate, conflicting accounts as truth. Wheredoes this lead a jury or judge? What final conclusion can we draw from this? And also, what use doesthis have besides making people feel better about perceiving the truth wrong. This comes to our last issue, the importance of a single reality. Ebert suggests that there is nosingle reality. While I just gave hassle for bringing emotion into perception, this view irritates me. Ifthere is no single reality, then people can claim whatever they wish to be true and nobody would beable to tell them otherwise. Everything based on facts would go out the door. By simply stating that “Isee two times four to be seven”, it is, because thats what my perception tells me and you cant arguewith that. Without a single reality, there would be no scientific laws, theories, or postulates at all. Ourknowledge of the world would be infinitely limited. Luckily, most people realize that there is in fact a
  3. 3. single truth to most issues, thus many pseudoscientists and other popular figures who deny basicknowledge as fact get no credit whatsoever. Unfortunately, due to the nature of our world, a singlebogus study along with the wonderful placebo effect can give people who practice alternative medicinesome credibility, which can potentially snowball into a dangerous false belief that these medicinesactually work. Ebert would say that they do, in fact, work, since they work for some of the people whouse them. Unfortunately, homeopathy has never cured a deadly disease, or forced a tumor to disappear,and by using these types of medicine both time and money are wasted, along with the potential foreffective treatments. That is why I maintain my position with Morris, that no matter the views of others, there is asingle true reality in this world. Very little is a matter of opinion, unless it is truly your feelings aboutwhat is nice and what is bad. A subjective reality is dangerous to the world, and lends itself to theopposite of scientific progress.
  4. 4. Works CitedMorris, Errol. Interview with The Believer. Morris, Errol 2004. Website.Van de Lagemaat, Richard. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge 2005. Textbook.