Tangerine Anthropology

9 01 2012

They say that postmodernism is dead, at least, in the philosophical circles. For us, it’s very much alive or at least breathing. But as much as many conservative minded people would like for this phase to pass, there are some positive lessens in postmodernism (Postmodernism is the thought that truth is relative, that is, “You have your opinions and I have mine.”). Most recently, I was reminded by a tangerine (yes, a tangerine) of how much most people (including myself) have a tendency away from the good of postmodernism. And yes, a tangerine.

Let’s try something interactive. Take a look at the picture on the left. Which side of the tangerine do you claim is the ‘head’ and which is the ‘tail’? I have always thought it obvious that B was the ‘head’ of the tangerine because the tangerine hangs with B facing the sky  and with A pointing to the ground. Thus, it always puzzled me as to why my mother would flip all the tangerines on the fruit plate so that A would be facing up. I would inquire as to why and she would confidently reply “…because it’s (A) the top.” Then the other day, I decided to do something I did not think to do before… hear more of her explanation. I asked why she thinks it’s the top. She explained, along with my father who shared her perspective, “Because B is where it attaches to the tree and is closest to the root of the tree and A is the farthest from the root of the tree.” The definition of ‘top’ or ‘head’ for them was the part of the fruit that was farthest from the root of the tree. My definition of ‘head’ was the part of the fruit facing the sky when it hangs. Their definition included the tree with the fruit, and mine, only the fruit (Possible analogy to collective vs individual thinking? That for another time).

I do not know which is the correct way to see the top of a tangerine, nor do I know even who or how will determine the matter, but it is interesting that my parents perspective was such a different way of seeing the exact same fruit. And more embarrassingly amazing is how blinded I was in being able to see that perspective. Once again, I am reminded of a favorite quote from my favorite theologian: Audi Partem Alteram. (St Augustine)

We always like to think others as more parochial than ourselves. If this is so, we must be spectacular listeners, but in truth, are we?


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2 responses

10 01 2012
charles

it’s quite evident that your parents are dead wrong. Another win for post-postmodernism/regular modernism!

10 01 2012
Paul Park

You must teach me this post-postmodernism!

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