Friday, April 09, 2010

it's all a matter of perspective

wow.  that's amazing.  how is that guy holding the sun? 

of course this is a ridiculous question because as you look at this picture your brain is able to do the necessary calculations to determine that what you are seeing here is actually physically impossible, but is instead a visual trick based on the position of the sun, the man, and you.

it's all a matter of perspective. 

and it really is.  my dad used to say this line all the time when we were growing up.  i would be fiercely trying to defend my black and white, categorized version of the world and dad would sometimes simply shrug and say, "it's all a matter of perspective." 

i hated that, but as i have gotten older, i have...well....changed my perspective on that.  i think he's right.  things can look very different depending on where you are standing.  take a look at this, for example.  how comfortable would you be using this bathroom?

i mean, who wants to use a toilet with glass walls in the middle of the city?  no way you drop your pants here (if so, you have other issues you probably need to sort out).  but what if you look at it the whole thing from another angle.  here's a picture from outside the bathroom. 



that's right.  it is made of mirrors.  one way mirrors, to be exact.  what looked to be see-through from the inside is actually impossible to see through from the outside.  just a silly example, but the world is full of situations that seem to look one way from where you are standing, but might look entirely different if you
would only move a bit.  it's all a matter of perspective. 



tonight at our reel life: discussions on film and faith program we'll be viewing the film vantage point, which is the story of an assassanation attempt as seen through the eyes of several different witnesses.  each time we see the events played out from a different perspective we get more and different information.  fascinatingly, no one really has the complete story.  it is only by combining all the different perspectives that we get a full version of the story. 

all of this is really interesting when i look at it through a safely objective lens, but what happens if i aim that lens at me?  what if i move from discussing a truth to asking myself the difficult question about how it is true for me?  what happens if i ask myself the question: how does my own perspective affect the way i understand and treat others?  do i adequately leave room for the way others may be viewing things from their perspectives? 

so think about a particularly difficult or annoying situation/person in your life right now.  have you stopped to consider where you're standing?  what's your vantage point?  what about another character in the story?  have you tried standing where they are?  how does that change the outlook?  i recommend you do this before forming impassioned and "objectively true" opinions that you treat as gospel.  walk around the situation first.  get a different look at it.  and remember, as dad always used to say, "it's all a matter of perspective." 

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