Perspective

A View About Perspective

PerspectiveEach person carries a background of unique-to-them experiences. Each comes from unique family, societal, religious, and political cultures. Each will interpret events or situations differently. Each has different sensing abilities. Perspectives change over time, depend on context, but remain personally unique. Can you really see from another’s perspective, or walk in another’s shoes? Can you recognize and acknowledge how your perspective may be different from another’s?

  • Seen from the moon, the earth — including all of the wars, the beauty, everything that humans have created, all the mountains and the oceans — can be hidden behind your thumb.
  • A grandfather may be unable to comprehend what the grandson takes for granted.
  • The ability to look at problems or issues from the next smaller scale, and the next larger scale, may facilitate more creative and appropriate solutions.
  • We should remember that although in our daily lives we deal primarily with the environments defined by our own senses, we should not forget that entire universes exist out into space, as well as at the microscopic and sub-microscopic levels.
  • What we see and perceive is a result of, or a function of, our cultural and linguistic upbringing. The world we each construct in our own brain shapes the way we perceive and order the world ‘out there.’
  • Relying on only one perspective or point of view may result in an incomplete or distorted understanding of an event, situation, or problem.

Each person carries a background of unique-to-them experiences. Each comes from unique family, societal, religious, and political cultures. Each will interpret events or situations differently. Each has different sensing abilities. Perspectives change over time, depend on context, but remain personally unique. Can you really see from another’s perspective, or walk in another’s shoes? Can you recognize and acknowledge how your perspective may be different from another’s?

Read this perspective, “The code of our country,” a column I wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: I grew up playing sports in the Texas Panhandle. On my bedroom wall, I had a plaque inscribed with a then-famous Grantland Rice saying: “For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he marks — not that you won or lost — but how you played the game.” I’d like to think I took that value to heart. In 1972, my ability to throw a football, and a decent SAT score, earned me an appointment to the Air Force Academy. On the field, “how I played the game” warranted only a two-year intercollegiate career. Off the field, I persevered to graduate. I attribute that in large part to my early-ingrained respect for how I (in the broader sense) “played the game.” [more]

Some important points from the videos:

  • There are always alternatives. No historical event was predetermined. “Nothing in human history that flowed from decisions of governments has been inevitable. No historical event ever had to happen the way it happened.”
  • Virtually every event or happening resulted from multiple ’causes’. Every ’cause’ was preceeded by some other ’cause’. At some point, asking “why?” may not yield fruitful results.
  • What we consider “normal” in our current cultural hasn’t always been considered “normal.”
  • While we can look back at the past actions of groups and individuals with harsh judgments, we should remember that our current generation of groups and individuals will be similarly-judged by future generations who will succeed us.
  • Time and events may change our perspectives. A realistic projection as to what is likel to happen may turn out to be wrong.
  • Sometimes the reactions to an event may be more revealing, and more consequential, than the event itself.

Read this perspective from a Fort Worth Star-Telegram column, “But what if …?”:  Today is graduation day at Texas Christian University. I teach a class in general semantics there, and seven of my 46 students will walk across the stage. Congratulations to them! Their last semester in college provided a variety of learning opportunities — and one notable missed opportunity — particularly during the fortnight in which winter turned to spring. Those two weeks began with a discussion about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy and Sen. Barack Obama’s speech on race in America. Then we talked about the decision of TCU and Brite Divinity School to move the March 29 portion of the Fourth Annual State of the Black Church Summit off campus. (Brite is on the TCU campus but is an independent institution.) For a year, Brite had planned the summit for the last weekend in March and had a long-standing invitation to Wright to attend and receive an award recognizing his 40 years of service to his church and ministry. But the executive committee of TCU’s board of trustees asked Brite to move the awards dinner off campus, which it did. [more]