The Power of Understanding

Atticus Finch as portrayed by Gregory Peck

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” This brilliant quote is from Harper Lee’s timeless novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and is said by one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, Atticus Finch. Why I like this quote is because it spoke to me like it did to no one else in my 9th grade Honors English class. It brought about a whole new light in my mind, and brought me closer than any of my peers to understanding others.

Donald J. Trump

Do you see this man who is pictured to the left (if you’re on web) of my article? If you don’t recognize who that is, I recommend you turn on your television, and go to Fox News, and you will know within 5 minutes. Along with Hillary Clinton, this man has a 50/50 chance of becoming the leader of our pristine country. Now I, along with most of America, do not see eye to eye with what Donald Trump has to say, in fact, other than his one “promise” to improve compensation for veterans, I do not agree with any of his ideas. I mean, does he really a think a wall would stop immigrants? My political views aside, it’s clear that America does not agree with what he has to say. People do not understand him. But do you know to who all of Trump’s ideas make total sense to? That’s right, Donald Trump himself. If you think of Donald Trump’s ideas from his perspective, or — according to Atticus — his shoes, they all make complete sense.

I could say the same thing about the gorilla who recently got shot in the Cincinnati Zoo. When a 4-year old boy jumped into it’s enclosure, the gorilla was most likely as scared as everyone around it was. Of course, due to fear, humans, who actually have the technology to rid their fears, shot the gorilla. Using this logic, would it be fair if the gorilla shot the human? If no, why not? Because for some reason humans have more rights than any other living mammal? Because of our ability to question our existence, we are, for some reason, able to rid the lives of other mammals that cannot? I bet you if animals had a 5th sense, these are the questions that would get thrown at us, making our actions unexplainable.

What I’m trying to get you, as a reader, to realize is that understanding is a very powerful tool to have. If zookeepers understood what was going through the gorilla’s mind, or thought from it’s perspective for a mere second, it would still be alive. Understanding, or thinking from someone else’s perspective, ends world wars, that’s how powerful it is. This is the approach that I want to see in this world. As big of a desire as this is, I want everyone to understand each other, try to bring reason to each action, and depending upon the reason, determine whether that action is justifiable. Understanding could save time, lives, and preserve peace, the peace that is needed now more than ever…

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