GRE Issue Essay 54

“People often look for similarities, even between very different things, and even when it is unhelpful or harmful to do so. Instead, a thing should be considered on its own terms; we should avoid the tendency to compare it to something else.”

It is human nature to draw comparisons. What is applicable to one thing is tested for its applicability on other things as well. We look for similarities between different things for our own sake. By doing this, we think that things can be easily understood. However, I think that everything should be judged independently so that its real nature comes out. Generalizing and comparisons are helpful only to a certain extent. If it is pulled too far, the beauty of individuality is lost.

Some of this nature of comparison comes from ignorance and some of it depends upon the nature and attitude of a person. If a person is not educated enough, he will not know the difference between two things. He will act according to what he thinks best. The consequences may be harmful but he is unaware of the facts. On the other hand, it is a person’s attitude to close his eyes to the reality and generalize different things for the sake of convenience.

Generalizing surely makes things easier and quicker. In science, the same formula is true for different data. However, this cannot be extended to every field. As is seen in history, each political situation needs to be handled differently. In case of an attack from a foreign power, it is not advisable to take the plunge without thinking. We can find proof in history where a similar decision taken at two different points of time has proved fatal for dynasties. While two situations of war may look similar, the decision regarding fighting the enemy depends upon many things like the existing army, warfare, resources etc. Rulers, who have simply neglected these issues to fight the enemy, just because they have been guided by similar situations, have been defeated or killed. On the other hand, there have been rulers who extend a message of peace and truce, agree for an alliance, adopt a new technique of warfare, admit submission or take such a decision according to the delicacy of the situation. Such a decision that weighs the situation is lasting and effective. There are more chances of survival and success for such a ruler.

We form comparisons to make things simpler for us. It is seen that people not only compare two similar things but also something that is completely different from one another. We turn a blind eye to the differences and treat everything in the same way. Let us take another example. As we know, each child is different. There is difference in aptitude, nature, talent, grasping power and behaviour. However, if all children are taught in the same manner ignoring their individuality, it will not do them any good. A slow learner cannot grasp as well as a fast learner can. He needs special attention and more guidance than others do. If this is ignored and he is expected to perform as well as others, the child will soon lose interest in the things he studies. Similarly, children have different interests. It is important to bring up these interests by identifying and encouraging them. It is only if the individuality of a person is respected that he develops a well-balanced and all-around personality.

Conclusively, it can be said that each situation demands attention. While generalization and comparisons can be made for good in certain cases, they cannot be extended to every field. Doing so will only cause harm and therefore the individuality of a thing should be maintained and it should be taken in its own terms.