Monday, December 12, 2011

Life = perspective.

Isn't it true that so often when we are passionate about something--a cause or effort, changing other's minds on a topic, our involvement with a group or organization--it is our current perspective which fuels that passion?

As a first-year student, I vividly remember getting blindsided by the paradigm shift that my individual perspective truly ruled my life.  How I was raised, where I grew up, conversations with friends, sports teams I was part of, classes I took and the many unique experiences of my life truly have an affect on how I view the experiences of daily life now.  Life is like a staircase, each moment building on the last.  At first I actually felt guilty about this, thinking I was somewhat at fault for not considering other perspectives more often. But, really, using perspective is a good thing. (usually!) It allows us to function in our daily lives, use prior knowledge to make decisions, and form opinions.  

This whole perspective things can also make things pretty tricky sometimes, too.  Huge controversies would come about (and often do!) simply because a person's life was filled with certain pieces and missing others.  

Now, as I reread this, it seems like I'm stating very obvious facts that need not even be thought about.  So, why?  Why have I been pondering the fact that life=perspective for a good 8 years now?  Why did it intrigue me so much when I was only four years old to lay in bed at night and ponder how different I would have been had my parents been different, had I lived in a different state.  Why is this notion so powerful to me?

I think it's really an adventure in empathy.  Instead of writing a person off as "stupid" when they respond poorly to a situation or make a bad decision, I want to know what past experiences they've had to push them to think the way that they do.  Instead of assuming I know what a person is going to do, or how they think, I want to consider my own beliefs and feelings and how they got there.  It's empathetic and compassionate to consider perspective instead of relying on judgement.

Admittedly, posted this about a month after I wrote it.  This topic makes me think really hard for a really long time, and even now I know it is only about 10% of my revelings about perspective.  Truly, thought processes like these really can never be finished, because my perspectives will change and I will learn and grow through them. 

And if the humbling process of life-long learning isn't one of life's joys, I'm not sure what is.

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