Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Learning Journal 16

Today the reading explained the Ophelia Syndrome, and attempted to explain how it could be overcome. The syndrome describes the way in which we express ourselves to a large extent. As in the play Hamlet, Ophelia doesn't know what to think and is willing to submit to Polonius' suggestions. In all reality, I think we all have moments where it is easier to accept the common opinion rather than investigate and discover an answer for ourselves. Although it depends on the topic, there are many occasions where I answer in an attempt to appeal to the question and demonstrate I'm thinking the same thing. While there are many instances that showing understanding is a valuable thing, one line in Plummer's essay stands out to me: "If we both think the same way, one of us is unnecessary." I have seen or heard this sentiment in multiple instances. One was on a TV show where a man, although extremely qualified for a position in a hospital, was not hired. When he was told this by the supervisor, he stated, "It's because I think too much like you isn't it?" And that was exactly the case. The supervisor wanted someone who could pose different views and bring new insights to the table, not simply encourage his own thoughts.
If I could learn to steer away from the Ophelia Syndrome, that could add incalculable value to finding answers in my research. Yet doing a field study to a different culture will force me into viewpoints that challenge what I have studied in my college experience. I may find that there is little use for landscape architecture/design in developing countries, or I may find that its simply an unexplored area because it is less lucrative than what could be done in developed countries. Either way, I feel like the opportunities granted through a field study experience will help me better understand my major in a way other than the mainstream.

Treatments to Overcome the Syndrome
Seek out and learn from great teachers, regardless of what they teach
Dare to know and trust yourself
Learn to live with uncertainty
Practice thinking from different points of view
Foster idle thinking
Plant to step out of bounds

1 comment:

  1. I really like your example from the television show. I remember one of my first exposures to this kind of thinking was in a high school debate class. I was asked to defend a position that I felt opposed to. However, throughout the debate as I searched for information to back the argument I was able to consider many valuable points that I had overlooked in my quick judgment to be opposed to the issue.
    Great post.