Essentialism is a really old and fancy word that Plato termed up back a long time ago. Plato, if you don’t already know, was a very wise man and educator whose ideas are still relevant and heavily talked about today. If you take a literature class in the future you are absolutely bound to read some of his works, most likely the Allegory of the Cave. Plato coined up the term essentialism, but what exactly is an essentialist and how can that relate to your life?
Essentialism is the belief that for each thing there are different functions and identities that are necessary for its function. That’s a strange definition, but hopefully I can explain it a bit better for you. Basically, essentialism is the thought that for every single thing out there, there is something that makes it up and lets it function the way that it does. Think of it this way. You’re a human. But, for you to be human you need a brain to function to pump the blood through your body. That’s what an essentialist view of yourself is. Now, typically this is used when thinking of ideas or forms, but that’s far harder to understand than my simple example.
How does this work in society though? Well, essentialism is really prominent in psychology, math, and biology. It shows how easy it is to categorize something and figure it out completely. In society, especially politics, it helps to create what are fixed, unmoving ideas and what are some subcategories. One such idea is gender and how politicians believe that there are really 2 fixed genders and all others are simply subcategories. As you can tell, this idea can bring about a lot of debate over what is actually true and if this viewpoint is correct or not.
While it might not be healthy to take an entirely essentialist view in life, there are some things that you can learn and put into your life from this. One way is to look at something bad that happened and realize that there are more things that went into that than just one. Another is to break down your reasons for arguments in papers or decisions in life and find out if the things leading you towards those were good or not. It might also be helpful in figuring out math by looking at all the parts that make the equation true to understand how it even functions.
Hopefully this little article was informational for you and really helped you understand what essentialism is. While you shouldn’t put this into your life fully, you can use it to help you figure out arguments and ideas that you have. Essentialism isn’t a new idea, but maybe it will come into light as a perspective that people employ again in the near future.
TXTgirl :: Orange County
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