Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ignoring the Hat

It's there- staring you in the face. Its very color is a definition, a label. In Israel, neighborhoods are classified by the "Shchorim" who live there. It may be a suitable covering for the rain we've been having the last few days, and it does protect from the sun. It has a tendency to fly off at the most inconvenient moment, just when an Egged bus turns the corner. And, it's the hat that sits, hanging on a hook in the dining room, when I have company over. Yes, it's black.

Yet, some people can't look past the hat. They see the hat, occupying a person's head, and they think nothing past it. The stereotype lives on, the insular, narrow minded person who has the strictest viewpoints on just about everything, and has never seen any other book than a Sefer. What's underneath the hat doesn't count, just the covering over the head.

It's assumed that the person wearing the hat has never heard of Gaza, or Mumbai, as he was too busy in Yeshiva. It's assumed he has never pursued a college degree, or if he has, it was done through CLEPs, or one of the college programs done while in Yeshiva (please don't take offense if you've done one of those.) Never you mind that the black hatter has spent hours every day deciphering 3 languages and using logic, along with mathematical calculations, some basic physics, and some science alongside. A bit of history, philosophy, and other items of interest are thrown in also, every once in a while.
I'm not saying they know physics better than a physicist, or that they focus on secular subjects on a regular basis, but they do have a brain, and some knowledge to add to a conversation.

Recently, Mr. NMF got into a conversation with someone on one of the controversial topics- evolution. And the funny thing was, that Mr. NMF has spent long hours discussing this with me, since I'm a science student. So, he has what to say, all grounded in Torah and in secular ideas. And, he mentioned something that the person had never heard of- punctuated equilibrium.

So, immediately, that person took the defensive.

"I've never heard of that before, it must be a religious idea. Don't confuse science and fact with religion."

Although Mr. NMF showed the person that it was a secular concept and theory, and elucidated at length that it had nothing at all to do with religion, the arguer remained unconvinced, clearly certain that the information was being twisted towards a religious agenda and could, therefore, not be accurate. I just stood there laughing, knowing that simply because Mr. NMF was saying it, and not a professor in a lab coat, the person he was arguing with would always attribute a religious slant to it, no matter what.

Talk about looking only at the hat.


Choked up said...

in my youth I made the big mistake of wearing my hat to a friend's bar mitzvah. the fire alarm went off because someone was smoking and the bar mitzvah's grandmother assumed I pulled the fire alarm (it went off from sensors; no one pulled it), strangled me by grabbing my collar at the back of the neck and dragging me to the firemen who looked at her like she was crazy for doing that. Talk about malbin pnei chaveiro barabim.

nmf #7 said...

Choked Up- So sorry that happened to you! I hope that didn't happen just because of the hat...