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June 14th, 2019
Perspective is unique.
There’s a somewhat problematic word: unique. As much as Tinkered Thinking would like to urge people to refrain from pedantic thinking (and you can check out Episode 137: Pedant, for a full discussion of this unfortunate tendency in people) . . . the use of the word ‘unique’ has a suffered a notably unfortunate drift, bloat, whatever you want to call it, regarding what it means.
Unique, just means one of a kind. Literally nothing else like it in the universe.
As far as we understand, every physical point in the universe is unique, and if you are occupying one of those points, then it’s simply impossible for anyone else to occupy that point also.
Where you stand in the universe defines -by default- a unique perspective that is impossible to replicate. Holding this in mind, remember also every previous point that every individual has occupied as we all move through life.
No matter how close two people are, the separation of perspective is undeniable. The fact that we have two eyes is a good example of this.
But unlike what our brain does with the information from two eyes, the value of two different people’s perspectives often fails to find a bridge where more value can arise.
Each person acts like a single eye, proclaiming “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I see it totally different, I see it this way.”
When we think about the smooth integration of information from two eyes, this kind of mindset seems somewhat laughable, if not patently ridiculous.
And yet everyone is guilty of this. Every moment of frustration, anger, incredulousness, aggravation, all of these extend from this unfortunate but beneficial separation of perspectives.
Just as the integrated information of two eyes creates an understanding of the space around us that is far superior to the use of just a single eye, it is the space between and including two perspectives that ultimately yields our most productive keys for moving forward.
But in the face of such damming emotions such as aggravation, anger and frustration, what is on offer to circumvent these emotions and achieve something wholly greater than our own petty perspective?
Contrary to much common wisdom about disagreements and friction between points of view, only one person in such a circumstance need alter their approach to achieve gains in understanding.
This is the space between the urge to conquer or concur.
A single person can listen deeply, putting aside the emotional force of their own perspective, and using their imagination to recreate as much of another’s perspective as possible. Though perspectives are unique, the words we use create bridges that we can hijack to slurp up as much of another person’s perspective as is possible and available given the constraints of our forms of communication.
Where others might stubbornly keep the door shut on other people’s perspective in favor of their own, anyone can claim the virtuous gains that exist between our own perspectives and others that differ.
The first ingredient of this practice of listening, is to pause, deeply, and let the emotions surrounding our coveted and falsely threatened perspective slowly subside. Only once the emotional dust has cleared, can we see clearly the message of another person’s perspective. No matter how ridiculous and inane it is.
In fact, it’s perhaps an even more valuable practice to try and hone this skill with people whose perspective we find utterly moronic. What kind of flexibility and ultimately compassion does it imply if you can understand the point of view of someone who seems truly lost to dumb and damaged ways of thinking? Is there anything that would be more valuable to have at hand if we found ourselves at a juncture where it was imperative to cure someone of their idiocy?
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