The Tragedy of Dismissal

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Deeper Things, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Being alive in this age means you will probably have to think more about the diversities around you, whether it’s racial diversity, cultural diversity, or even artistic diversity. At the same time, there’s a silent loss of all that diversity as more and more we are blending and mixing into each other, moving towards a “common denominator”-type of society. Though we may never fully become one, we can certainly see people begin to adopt things outside of their usual contexts to experience “more” of life.

Admittedly, I have mixed opinions about this, which you may have picked up in my opening paragraph, however I recently had a reading experience that got me thinking about why I read what I usually read; why I don’t read what I don’t read; how my beliefs/culture shaped those choices; and finally…why on earth I never really thought about it before!

Up until this last book I read, I had pretty much read only one type of book, many expressions of that type, but one type. Complete with differing views, some amazing and some outrageous, yet all falling under one umbrella. I seemed to be quite satisfied with this, even though it took me months to finish a book at a time. There was no reason for me to try anything else, I never saw the point. There was also the fascinating factor that my culture played a part in deciding what I read, further defining my outlook on what to read.

Late last year however, I decided I’d write a fantasy novel (exciting…until you start!). I had begun all the background work, plot building, character sketches…etc, but I’d never actually read a fantasy novel! Criminal, I know! I mean, here is this desire within me, it would follow that I’d immerse myself in the art form, right? Unfortunately, I was experiencing the negative side of belief/cultural preservation. I’d never seen the point, and in a strange way, I had this pride that still believed I could do it without ever reading one. Ha!

So I bought one last week, made sure it had some of the elements mine would have, did research on the net as I looked at the titles available (just pick a book man!), then I finally made a choice! Now, here’s the thing… The books I normally read were more informational or “educational” in nature, rarely exceeding 200 pages, and took me months to finish. This novel I’d bought was a whopping 420 pages! In a strange twist of fates colliding, I ate that book in 3 days. THREE DAYS!!!

Upon completion, I was really…challenged to say the least. I’d discovered something I didn’t know was “missing” in my life. I was entertained, I learnt, I saw parallels with life as a whole, it was a journey! I’d never been taken on a journey before in the books I’d been reading, because I’d dismissed the relevance of the kinds of books that would give me this experience! Did I know I was missing out like this? Of course not. I’d trained my mind to believe that it wasn’t necessary, I’d been filled with the images of people who shared my beliefs just not engaging with most other styles of writing, and that looking “deep”. It was engrained in my psyche that what I was doing was “enough”.

This is the problem as I see it: When you dismiss something without any reason beyond “that’s not how we do things”, you’re setting yourself up for an ignorance that will eventually render your outlook on life irrelevant. 

I looked at what I could imagine before and after the book, and they were obviously worlds apart (pun intended). I saw a way of doing things that my belief system/cultural context simply did not offer.

It made me realise that dismissal without applied logic or reasoning usually results in some sort of tragedy to humanity. While I’m not here to push the “accept all things” message, I do support understanding over blind dismissal. You may still find something pointless after you’ve really examined it, but at least you examined it! At least we can figure out why we accept or dismiss different ideas or expressions. There is no reason in this world to be ignorant except it be a conscious choice.

How imperative would it be for those of us who believe in/stand for something in this age of tolerance, to show a deeper level of understanding our choices on a reasonable level? I am so glad for this recent experience because it exposed how little I knew about the basis of my “rejections”. I’d missed out on something that has given me even greater resolve in what I want to achieve, and has challenged me deeply.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you were challenged in your belief? Whether it’s what you accept, or what you dismiss. How often do you reach beyond your auto-pilot thinking and tinker with the programming of your mind? How many people have you judged because of something you don’t like about their appearance, and missed out on some of the gifts they had to offer despite their appearance.

Yes, dismissal can turn into a tragedy. A tragedy called ignorance and irrelevance. I have a lot I don’t like, or adhere to, but it’s not blind. I have reasons beyond what I was fed, I went and searched, read articles, spoke to people. But wow! Talk about being exposed by a simple fantasy novel! Clearly I hadn’t done enough!

So, what will you find out about what you accept, and what you dismiss? This week, for the rest of this year, will you allow yourself to be taught more about what you don’t know? Can there be hope that you will overcome your tragedy? Are you willing to at least know why you don’t accept something, through reading more than you usually do, or researching?

I’m not particularly open-minded in my beliefs, but I am open-minded in my approach. This isn’t a blog to tell you your culture sucks or your beliefs are skewed. It’s to say you may be falling for a trick and missing out on some really cool fantasy novels!


  1. T says:

    Thanks for the reminder and inspiration Maze. Time to expand the horizons and take the blinkers off. Who knows might just find a missing link or grow a bit. Now to find the right novel 😉

  2. Tshepiso says:

    an “open-minded approach”… i like that….

    thanks Over!

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