Alice and the Caterpillar looks at each other, staying in silence for a while. “Who are you?” asks the Caterpillar. Alice is confused and barely answers the Caterpillar’s question. She answers “I knew who I was when I got up in the morning. But I think I must have been changed several times since then.” The Caterpillar asks Alice what size she wants to be. Alice murmures, “I am not particular as to size. Only one does not change so often... Three inches is such a wretched height to be.” The Caterpillar angrily says, “It is a very good height indeed!”
This scene is taken from chapter 5 of the classic novel “Alice in the Wonderland.” It is often used as an exemplary text to tell the differences of points of views to students. From Alice’s point of view, her body in the current state of three-inch tall is difficult to endure. From the Caterpillar’s point of view, being a three-inches tall is just large enough. Students are required to compare Alice’s point of view to the Caterpillar’s one. They are asked to explore their own perspectives of the events related to the story.
Perhaps it is easy for us to find and compare two conflicting opinions in the story like Alice. However, it is very difficult to read the contexts of social discussions in the real world. The world we live in has more issues. The opinions of both sides clash more fiercely. It seems almost impossible for us to contrast fiercely conflicting ideas among people and find our own answers upon them. We live a busy and difficult life. It is difficult to review all issues, evaluate them yourself, and have your own opinion. Even if you do, it is very difficult to judge what is right or wrong. There are two ways in order to overcome this problem. If you encounter a difficult issue, avoiding it is one way. The other is to judge cases using well-known tools. Among, ideology and faction are commonly utilized.
Ideology serves as a heuristic cue. If someone uses a magical stick like an ideology, every complicated issue can be wiped out and clearly seen as black and white. Of course, using ideology as a decision tool forces you to choose one or the other. But once you choose it, you do not need to spend much time in figuring out reasons behind your choices. The gift of issue position consistency comes along with it, too. It is easily mistaken that you take consistent and clear attitudes upon issues no matter what when you rely on ideology.
So does faction. Few claim themselves to use faction for their decision-making. However, many people choose their positions upon issues according to their factions. It is safe for a person to decide his position in accordance with the faction. Mostly, a faction leader provides his followers plausible theories and reasoning whatever available.
So, what happened to the scene of Alice story in the end? The Caterpillar gives Alice two types of mushroom. One makes her get smaller, and the other makes her get bigger when eaten. Alice eats the mushroom for “small” first, and when her body gets smaller, she urgently swallows mushroom for “grow.” The tiny piece of “grow” mushroom sticks in Alice’s neck and turns her into a bizarre shape with only a small body and a long neck. Before experimenting with eating mushrooms hastily on both sides, Alice should have decided herself how much bigger she wanted to be. Of course these are difficult to everyone.
Kim Jun-seok firstname.lastname@example.org
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