A facet is a single side to a person’s character, achievements, skills, interests, hobbies and/or other things. The cube above represents the many sides of a person or event. History (and history books) are guilty of stripping down moments of significant events to fit their side of the story, or what that publisher and/or author is trying to teach you. Because of this, most students end up only knowing one side of some of the most influential people in history.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word “Einstein”? I immediately think of the equation E = mc2 and then stop thinking about it. That’s honestly all I remember on Einstein, and I literally wrote an essay about him a few weeks ago. What about people who studied him ages ago, or haven’t even started studying him? In the end, most people only remember that he came up with the equation for mass-energy equivalence. I didn’t know that he had different affairs with multiple women until recently. And it’s not just Einstein whom we only learn one side of. There’s other impactful people in history who have the same fate. Did you know that Amelia Earhart worked as a nurse’s aide? The only thing I knew about her was that she was one of the first female aviators. And what about wars? If you live in the Southern part of America, it’s very likely that you’d learn different things about the Civil War than what the people living in the Northern part would learn.
This led me to ask myself, “Why does this happen?” I, soon, ended up remembering something I learned in Latin class last year: the stereotypical jock. The stereotypical jock has a lot of brawn but no brains and vice versa for the stereotypical nerd. They’re either smart and weak, or strong and stupid. You can see this portrayed in all forms of media, from books to movies. But, where does that stereotype come from?
The all brawn and no brains, or all brains and no brawn, stereotype can be traced back to the myths of Hercules (Greek: Heracles). According to those myths, Hercules was a demigod, who had super strength, but he did not enjoy learning. Because of this, Hercules ended up killing his music teacher with his bare hands. Hercules was an all brawn and no brains type of dude.
Since the Ancient World, some historians have only recorded one side of the story, the winning side’s story, which is not okay. However, studying different sides of the same story also does not make any sense. If you’re applying for college, or any other beneficial opportunity, the worst type of candidate you can be is a well-rounded candidate. Most colleges don’t care if you can’t sing to save your life if you’ve achieved something big and are looking to go into that field. College, especially, is all about defining you with just one thing: your selected major.
So, what’s better; people seeing all of your sides ,or people only seeing your best one? I’ll let you decide.
However, do keep in mind that the President of the United States of America has many sides. So do many other influential politicians. In fact, three Congress members resigned after stories about them being sexual predators surfaced. And it’s not just politics; stories of sexual assault have also reached the music industry. Melanie Martinez has been accused of raping her best friend. Now, do you still think that we should only focus on these people’s professional lives, or do you think that we should focus equally on their personal lives? After all, one’s personal life greatly impacts their professional one.
(Side note: the word facet comes from the French word for appearance, facette, which most probably comes from the Latin word facies, meaning face and appearance).
(edited this post on December 11th, 2017 to fit recent events)