A Matter of Perspective

This week Sidey’s theme is: How something appears is always a matter of perspective  [Wrote this post just last week, now the Daily prompt is also giving us “perspective”!]

Leads me to these thoughts, a poem and a post on my “trying to think” site (here). Sidey! Look what you do to me!

The musk-rat's eye view of the reeds on the Spring Street pond
The musk-rat’s eye view of the reeds on the Spring Street pond

Apart from leading me to idiotic contortions as required to take photos, and further idiotic mind wanders in poetic verse, this prompt led to more serious thoughts. I do not think that finding a different perspective is always so easy to do. Physical contortions can be simpler than mental gymnastics. It is as if we* have minds that snap back, like bendable plastic [the opposite of ‘potty putty’] into their default perspective. [Are you optimist or pessimist? Do you identify with the underdog or the successful one? etc.?]

We can think we have changed our view, when actually we have maybe only changed the context [new job, new partner, new??]. Sometimes, fortunately, the new context brings enough difference with it, so that later, we do indeed change. Getting a change of perspective, seeing the world differently, happens, or does not happen, way down deep in the unconscious. If it happens, some neurons, synapses or whatever they are, do their shift thing, grow new connections that were not there before. Like a river changing course, from now on, the default line of action is different from before.

A new context:

Learn a language

Travel

Do something today that I do not usually do.

[Will you do something too?]

Then, listen to myself [yourself]. Find out how I feel now. Hurray! I can do this rationally, and consciously. Not to become a navel gazer, just so I can get curious about this new context and adjust while I find out more.

DOING THIS just might help those neurons shift!! [It does, and they shift more with practice, so long as I remember the practice is to help me find out about the context, not get self-absorbed. That’s a different kind of activity.]

I no longer get bothered when I feel a bit “not like me”, I just wonder what will turn up next. I seem to have found a perspective which believes in people and their capacity to be good. It seems that some with ideological views cannot find this place even though their ideology says they should.

Idealogues! Get a different perspective please!

*It was hard to write this post with a suitable pronoun [try making substitutions]. I certainly can’t use “you” in it as it applies to me also, and how do I know if it does apply to you? Though I think it does. He, she, s/he, it, they, or, putting in a general noun like “people”, makes what I am saying sound like theory or us-and-them sort of thinking.  There is a special pronoun in chinese, zan-men 咱们, which is different from wo-men 我们, the usual plural of “I”. “Zanmen” means all of us present, speaker and spoken to, those who are with each other. The english “we” could assume a collective perspective, as if we all had the same view. This is NOT what “we” used in the post intends, I just mean, if you have read this far, we are all here with whatever perspective we happen to hold. Zanmen! If you like or don’t like my view, you can start a conversation with me. Please do.

Japan - after the tsunami in 2011. The typhoon photos from the Philippines so sadly look similar.
Japan – after the tsunami in 2011. The typhoon photos from the Philippines so sadly look similar.

Finally  – if you are still here, still reading

I remember when the Japanese tsunami hit in 2011 many reports were of the incredible capacity of people to help each other.

I am hoping many of those in the Philippines, rescuers and rescued, find they can help each other get through the disaster and distress they now face together.

May they find what they can.

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19 thoughts on “A Matter of Perspective

  1. A different and challenging perspective on perspective.
    If we use empathy to make ourselves view important things from an opposing perspective, it may not change our own but is almost certain to modify it.

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  2. Thanks for the pingback, I’m trying to get used to this blogging thing.
    I really like the post and I guess it’s because it’s something I myself have been considering and I can relate to it.
    I think changing perspective is like drug rehab in the sense that you can always relapse into past perspective and behaviour i.e. your original perspective. Changing perspectives requires making a conscious effort and creating a pattern in hope that it’ll become natural behaviour. Then again considering I want to change I’m yet to implement my own theory that it requires making a conscious effort. I’m a pessimist trying to become an optimist, just for some context to why I want to change perspective.

    To Colonialist, I think empathy helps you to better understand whatever the topic is from another’s point of view but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with their perspective.

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    1. the irony is that the only effort we can make is the conscious one – the unconscious just reacts to the sum of the various inputs. I think that is yet another reason for self-awareness – we are making our own inputs to the system as well as responding to stuff from outside us. This seems to be the problem with drugs acting on the psyche (whether medically prescribed or otherwise obtained) they are a kick from the outside – the inner world responds by building tolerance to them – then after rehab i.e. no more ‘kicks’ – the pattern of avoiding inner processes towards change can resume, not much different. Rehab has got to be rehab++ i.e. also offer some sort of help in the inner way to change through different habits, ways to think etc.

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  3. Putting oneself into something or getting as close as possible, to see from another perspective, seems old hat, but is there another way? Soon as I read this yesterday, you had me contemplating another direction. Following the links, thank you.

    In disasters, all you can do is hope those working to help and fix are able to do what needs to be done. So much to accomplish with a multitude of obstacles.

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  4. I suppose I feel that each of us only has a very small sphere of influence, but in a way that smallness is what matters as all the old cliches like grains of sand and drops of water kick in – Can’t do much but make sure what I do is in the enabling open up to life sort of direction. There are going to be disasters, and probably more of them as the climate balances shift.

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  5. Hah – you spotted it – totally different perspective there from ‘making better’ or therapy or whatever else is in the change literature. I didn’t write that reply with intent to be ‘different’ – its how I want to be … enabling… Thanks your comments are much valued.

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  6. I never saw a musk rat before I came to live here. They are very quiet and unobtrusive, I see one nibbling the grass at the roadside, as soon as he sees me he just goes back under shelter, I like them.

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