December 1 – Perspective

Each day this month, I’m going to try to write on a given topic.  It’s really a journal entry of sorts, but I’ve selected the prompts ahead of time.  Hope you enjoy!

Jimmy 09


Perspective is how we see the world.  From what angle…and with what judgments?  And perspective is shaped and skewed by our own personal experiences.  For example, when I’m looking at the bluebird perched on top of birdhouse out my picture window, I’m taking that scene in and defining it for myself based on my prior experiences, and based on my current situation as well, based on my feelings, opinions, and judgments, based on my understanding of the world and of that bird.  What I see…and my perspective…has everything to do with where I’m sitting now. There isn’t another person with the same previous experiences as me. And no one is sitting exactly where I’m sitting. Therefore, our perspective will always be varying with others.

It’s very helpful though, or at least it has been helpful for me and seems to be helpful for others… to try to see things from other perspectives.  By attempting to see how others see, we can gather a fuller picture, more of a 3D image per se…one which we have a deeper understanding of. We realize that the bluebird with it’s back to us, isn’t simply made up by the kobalt blue color…but it’s breast contains deep burgandies and browns…and rust.  We realize that it’s a male. And we see that he’s guarding the hatchlings within the box below, from the swallows swarming above.

Holding onto and keeping our own limited perspective is therefore a very ‘narrow’ way to live.  When we open ourselves up to how others see things, we expose ourselves to more of what the world has to offer. We grow more empathy.  We don’t just ‘feel bad’ when we see adversity for others…we’re able to identify with what we see. We’re able to somewhat walk in the shoes of others, appreciating a more broad expanse of the human experience. It’s more realistic.  And it’s actually a more fulfilled life.

Our perspective is seeing. And seeing is ‘aiming’. It’s pointing and guiding our vision in a particular direction.  A significant distinguishing trait between us humans and our related chimps before us, and all other species around us is in fact our ability to aim. In particular, it’s our ability to aim and throw, which at the early stages of hunting and gathering, we can understand how effective of a utility that would be.  We could throw rocks at our prey. Then shoot arrows. Then propel bullets through a gun. All based on seeing, aiming, throwing. This allowed us to obtain food more efficiently, and consequently grow physically as individuals. More pertinent to this conversation though, is how it allowed us to diversify our energy, applying it to areas ‘other’ than ourselves…like family, community, society. Of course there are other factors within that diversification and development. But we shouldn’t underestimate the sovereignty that seeing and aiming has provided us. And as much as that has allowed us to hunt down (and kill) animals to eat, it has ironically and paradoxically employed us with the ability to understand, help, and save or protect other beings. 

Considering this ability to see, aim, empathize, and use a broad range of perspectives, we have some good tools in our kit, useful in passing the world off to the next generation in the best shape possible. This is our responsibility as humans. In other words, we owe it to our ancestors, ourselves, and our future citizens…to make the world a better place.  And whatever ‘perspective’ you have, is the truest and most effective one to use for moving the world  forward.  It’s so awesome to think how you are the result of all of the evolutionary growth and knowledge of the family tree behind you. You are a condensed version of them…and what they accomplished, what they created. And you are the highest intellectual form of…the most sophisticated and innovative form of…all who came before you. All of that led to you. So powerful.

Don’t take your responsibility lightly.  Don’t take your ‘perspective’ lightly. The way that future generations will accept the world in part rests on how you hand it off to them. Gather the perspectives of others by using gratitude and empathy…and humility. Attempt to understand that your perspective matters so very much.  It’s the hand you can play. In contrast to that, realize that your own perspective is almost meaningless and small. Again…this is why we need to consider others during this monumental undertaking and responsibility.  

An interesting note to close…I’m not much a religious person, but I am doing my best to learn and take in a new perspective within theology.  It can’t be ignored considering it’s strong influence throughout the time of humanity. So, I’m going to end with the idea of ‘sinning’. The literal translation of the word sin, is ‘to miss the mark’. It’s interesting to realize how close that definition is…how related it is to a lack of seeing, aiming, using our perspectives, and considering others.  Let’s not sin. Let’s broaden our perspectives. Let’s use them accordingly. Let’s hit the mark.


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