Human beings are a complex species, and this is a result of our rich cultures and different life experiences. Complexity is a beautiful thing.
It allows us to search for more information to attain a better understanding of people, cultures, experiences and events. As marvelous as human complexity is, there tends to be a lot of conflict and pain that comes with it.
What may seem like an unsolvable conflict between two individuals may simply stem from the lack of understanding of the other side of the story. As sad as this scenario sounds, we all have experienced situations like these, either from our own experiences or seeing other people go through these situations.
This is why it's important to understand other individuals' viewpoints as well as the experiences they have gone through to make them feel that way. Understanding each other as layers of different stories and identities is important, which can be found in John Green's novel, "Looking for Alaska."
"Looking for Alaska" is a novel that tells the story of Miles, a shy and friendless boy, and his personality development after making daring and intriguing friends in a boarding school. Green explores many themes within the story, but none more important than human complexity.
Over the course of the story, we witness the growth of both Miles and his boarding school friends. There is an attachment Green builds between his readers and his characters that not only forces us to wonder about their futures, but also their pasts and how they shape the characters into what they are.
Although the story told in this novel is vastly different from what the average person can relate to, it is easy to connect with "Looking for Alaska" because it portrays the concepts of needing to understand and be understood.
Understanding other individuals leads to many beneficial results. Fewer conflicts will occur because of better communication between the two parties. It also gives us a wider perspective on other issues that may or may not be directly affecting our lives.
When we learn about other perspectives, we are able to better relate to other people and sympathize with them. Understanding each other allows for an environment where there is mutual love and respect.
As social animals we want to be heard by, and also connect to, other people. Actively creating this environment by simply listening to others is always beneficial to everyone.
Aisha Mohammed is a sophomore from Lagos, Nigeria, majoring in human biology with a minor in French and Francophone studies.