Seeing and interpreting: Do terrorists live here?

is3(by Eileen Dombrowski) The police descended, responding to the warning: residents of Karlskrona, Sweden were allegedly displaying their allegance to the terrorist Islamic State with an enormous IS in their window.  The officers left laughing, however. The inflatable balloons, viewed from the inside of the house, took the shape of 21, the number of the birthday celebration.  “I’m so surprised at all the attention,” said Sarah Ericsson. ” I will never forget my 21st birthday.”

This is a short and funny story, but its relevance to TOK’s treatment of sense perception is obvious.  What we see depends, yes, on the angle from which we are observing.  But it also depends on what we carry already in our minds, so that the interpretation is difficult to disentangle from the sight.  And then — how do we act, based on our interpretation?  Do we pause to question what we’ve “seen” — or do we call the police?


“21 or IS? Swedish police rush to home of suspected Islamic State extremists and discover birthday balloons”, National Post, February 25, 2015.

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