We don’t just view the world with our eyes, though it is certainly possible. Everyone alive, regardless of age, has a worldview, be they Christian, atheist, Jewish or Muslim. While we may all have some form of a foundation, it’s what we do with it that ultimately matters. This is called a hermeneutic; according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it’s either the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (such as the Bible), or simply a method or principle of interpretation. Hermeneutics are simultaneously theological and literary, but it still deals with interpreting texts and the world around us.
Let’s use college as an example, since we are in the season of the fall semester. The average freshman will take this and that class, and they may have a traditional view of the world, with some changed views here and there. This is a healthy thing to have, but it can prove to be a challenge once this hypothetical student begins to harbor such a jaded view of the world to the point of everything they were taught is inherently evil.
I want to make it clear that this ‘liberal’ agenda serves more as a deterrent for not enrolling in college, and is often exaggerated to hilarious extremes. Everything that I had described isn’t so much the obscure liberal agenda’s fault as it is more of the fault of the professors for not teaching a more unified reading of texts. During my senior year of undergrad, I took a critical theory class that my advisor usually teaches. The class was set up to examine a single piece of a famed text, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and we would read up on different commentaries, each utilizing a different method of criticism.
Many of these criticisms were just that, criticisms, and they attempt to deconstruct the text with their own school of criticism, which is a fine and good thing to do. Before we would begin reading, my professor would illustrate a diagram known as the ‘hermeneutical circle.’ This circle is an analogy of being aware of the underlying issues texts may have, but still appreciating a traditional view of said texts. It is here where we gain a new appreciation of things and how they shape our worldview.
Should we not have the same attitude towards our everyday lives? Recognize the problems life has, but also recognize the beauty it also has?
Jacob Murdock is a staff writer for The Times-Journal. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.