It is strange to think that we might not be modern, but according to philosopher Bruno Latour we are not modern, and therefore we cannot be revolutionary. I do not know much about philosophy or how to interpret it, but Professor Keith Peterson’s lecture has prompted to me to question the world. The most pressing thoughts I have had have been about social constructs. This is a term that is used to describe a concept that is not naturally occurring, but has been given meaning by humans and is accepted as fact. Social constructs influence the way humans interact with one another and also influences the way we make sense of the world. Professor Peterson stated that social constructs are not always false. However, this is misleading because social constructs are not real. Therefore, they are not actually tangible, but they can be true to certain communities that accept them as fact.

Social constructions and socially conditioned knowledge refer to accepted ideas in a community. They differ from group to group, from culture to culture. They are a way for these groups to function together and understand each other. However, this idea of socially conditioned knowledge seems a little like brainwashing to me. What happens if a member of the community has a differing opinion or way of thinking? Will they become a threat to the society? Will the community threaten them? People who abide by the ideals set out by the population are choosing to ignore what they do not like. This does not make for a better world, but a compliant one. If Latour claims that “we are not revolutionary,” then he must be thinking about a time and place where challenging social constructions does not occur. However, the world does not actually function this way. We need to challenge social constructions in order to improve quality of life and make the world safe for everyone. We need revolutions.

Professor Peterson claimed that social constructs are not necessarily false. This challenges the concept that social constructs do not actually exist, although they may seem natural. Yes maybe a social construct makes sense because the community has accepted it and views it as being “true,” but that does not make it real. Maybe the community functions best with these constructs in place, but that does not make them natural. It is true that we can accept and identify with a social construct. For example, many people identify with a certain race or gender, but these are still social constructs. Social constructs exist, and will probably not go away any time soon, but calling them “not necessarily false” is not a constructive way to justify their use. What I took away from this lecture is that we are not modern, we are not revolutionary, and nothing exists. This is confusing and very difficult to accept, but also a good way to challenge how I think. What I think is that we are modern, we are revolutionary, and we do exist.