Interview with Cody Interviewer: Matt Koch, Assistant: Jenn Harmless Photographer: Reiner Riantan
Transcriber: Arlene Flower
Image Editor: Maggie Bui
First off, why did you want to be represented in this project?
I guess the reason why is because if what I say can have some value towards it then it would be a waste not to at least offer what I can say.
How would you say that you self-identify in any way?
Hmm, well I guess first of all human, American: I guess if there’s a quality, the thing that I identify most with is my intelligence, my caring and compassion, and I don’t know, I guess I really like humor. I think it’s a great tool to be able to get past . . . I think the real purpose of humor is really just to be able to laugh at the absurdity of the human condition.
How do you think you’re seen by society?
Well, that really depends on whether you mean how do I think others see me versus how I see myself and anticipate how people see me. I mean most people who know me know I’m intelligent, kind, I’m a nice person, but at the same time there’s also that fear of judgement and the unknown, of people not seeing the real me, and I feel like a lot of times people I guess it’s more that it’s fear that something that I do which is out of the ordinary, that doesn’t represent me as a person. . . it’s like, when people generally want to know me and who I am really does shine through. At the same time, I tend to downplay my better qualities. I know who I am but at the same time I often don’t think other people see through the regular exterior.
Have your actions or words ever been misinterpreted by people?
Yeah, I think most conflicts between people aren’t really issues with the meanings between what people say, it more so the interpretations. Oft times when I’m in an argument it’s more so a matter of clarifying what I’m trying to say and asking for clarification of what other people are saying.
The fact that you’re aware of that is huge, because so many people don’t realize that’s what arguments are, it’s usually we agree but we’re using different words.
At the same time there are people out there who are just not willing to alter their beliefs even when evidence is provided. When I’m having a discussion with a person, often times I find that my beliefs can be improved or altered to be more in line with the truth, and at the same time I hope that the values in my opinions and my views will help other people change their opinions towards me more aligned with the truth.
If I think I know something, but then I read something factual that contradicts that, then I try to switch what I think about because there is truth and we should try to align our -
You’ve got to present me with evidence, but once you have it’s like well OK I was wrong.
It’s not just necessarily evidence in the sense of science; it’s also the sense of beliefs about things, opinions. There are times when I feel my opinions are accurate, right, just. When someone shares their opinion with me I find that there are flaws in how I was viewing things and there are ways of thinking I didn’t want to try, and I find often times, most people tend not to be actively looking for that kind of thing
How do you want to improve your community, whether that’s through CIP or Bloomington as a whole?
I think that in general my viewpoint on life tends to be one that kind of promotes compassion, caring, understanding and I hope that people who know me want a part of that for themselves. Every impression we have, we leave a part of ourselves with the other person and they do so with us.
How do you feel about the state of things right now – for yourself, your family, and friends?
I know I’m very lucky that money is not an issue, while in the past things have been a little rocky with some of my family members, they’re in a better place than they were. I have access to food, shelter - so in terms of the state of things, for personally they are pretty good. Although, if you want to go towards the rest of the world, I’d say that I know things aren’t that great now. I always look at the world in two ways, how it is and how it could be and I think the world has the potential, a pretty good chance of reaching a much better place.
What, if there is anything in particular that you see in the world now that gives you that hope that it could be a better place?
One thing is the fact that there are people who are actively out trying to change it. There are way more people trying to change the world for the better than people who are causing issues for the world. For every racist out there, there are people who are loving and compassionate and understanding of other people. For every person who is sexist there are tons of people out there who don’t view gender as having any baring towards a person’s ability to do anything.
Historically we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. It may not seem like it to us; humans tend to be very shortsighted. How often do you try to think about how your actions now are going to affect people 100 years from now? It’s always a march towards progress.
I have to ask, how old are you?
Your view of the world, your perspective of things is amazing to me. I know people twice your age who don’t have it figured out yet.
I don’t think I have everything figured out.
You’re trying and you’re thinking about these things and that’s just – I’m impressed.
Well you only live once, I think. You only live once so make the most of it. Try never to leave any regrets. Try to enjoy life, and make sure that others enjoy life too.
Based on everything that we’ve talked about, if you had one message that you could say to the world, to people in general, what would that be?
Never ignore the world for how it is but never stop imaging how it could be.
What do you think your biggest contribution has been this far to the world, and or, what are you the most proud of?
Like I said before, I’ve really had to downplay how people view me, but I guess in general the biggest contribution I’ve made to the world is the fact that the people in my life are happier when I’m around. My dad, I’m one of the only people he has deep philosophical conversations with. My family in general and my friends I have.