Thursday, March 22, 2012

My perspective on perspective....or the lack thereof

Perspective - is a peculiar thing... It changes at the slightest vantage point.

I think I should take my memories with a grain of salt - who knows if I accurately appraised the situation due to my point-of-view at the time?

When I assure myself of the certainty of what I've perceived - I then begin to see it as the only reality possible.  Sure it may be my brain's built-in self-preservation mechanism - to keep me from having to process difficult or emotionally draining information early on - but there comes a point when I need to step back and look at it again.  Maybe uncover some callouses or veils I have set up to block out any other truth?  I need to face this truth full-on, with no filters.  I must feel every effect that comes with knowing the truth - or at least as much as I can understand it.

That's part of the rub: how can I ever know the FULL reality of any given situation?  Can I crawl into the mind of anyone else other than my own?  Do I even know my own perspective all that well?  And somehow - even when directly seeing the truth - my mind and heart still dampen the blow, because it might be too hard to take unfiltered.

Still, it is important to let go of my own reality and open up to a larger truth - else I might be stuck in a fruitless and endless cycle of, "But I KNOW I am right!"

In the case of romantic relationships - the "knowing" could keep me from ever really moving on - even if the next guy is "perfect" for me.  I don't want to carry this baggage from relationship to relationship.  It's not fair to me and it's really not fair to the other person.

In a relationship, there's my perspective - then there is your perspective - our perspectives are tainted or influenced by a multitude of factors: cultural expectations, previous experience, family and friends, social status, mental health, financial security...etc.  The point of "knowing thyself" in one sense is to recognize how these factors skew one's perspective - to get down to the raw truth of the matter.

I feel I need a divine intervention to help me actually sort through all that crap.  I need to calm the other raging and competing voices that inundate my own psyche and try to discover the One that really matters.

Then there is trying to understand someone else's perspective...which is harder than figuring out our own.  We can be as open as possible and talk very frankly about our points of view, but somehow, because I did not GO through what the other person has gone through, it is hard for me to really see from their perpective.

In addition - maybe I'm not meant to know the full truth of anything - because really...can I handle the full truth?  It's like when Adam and Eve's curiosity got the best of them and they ate from the one tree (out of hundreds) which they were forbidden to eat - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Perhaps the reason it was forbidden was because God knew we would forever try to fruitlessly understand what we are incapable of understanding?

I don't mean this as a cop-out or a way of throwing my hands up into the air saying we shouldn't strive for knowledge and understanding: it seems to be human nature to try to sidle up to things that are beyond our grasp and try to reach for them.  Which can be very good.

It's just at any given time - because we are human - we always have limitations - to our understanding - to our abilities...  Death is a particularly sober example of our limitations.

Anyway, back to the idea of perspective:  I think the essence of human existence is trying to live on that fine line between striving to understand with all of our faculties and giving up the need to know.  Once we think we have arrived at the place of understanding, that's when we need to realize, no we don't.  Look at all the places in history when people think they know it all and I'm sure you can understand the grave problem of thinking you have the right perspective.  It was bad for people like Hitler and the Grand Inquisitor and it is bad for people like you and me: We must stay ourselves from thinking we have the corner market on the truth or else bad things will happen.

When are the times to give up?  The times when holding on to my view or perspective is causing harm to myself or my relationships with others can be one rule of thumb.  Again, meditation and quieting false voices is probably a good way to recognize this.

When my brain keeps going in circles on the same topic with no real revelation...
When I cannot wrap my head around why someone made a certain decision or took a certain action...
When someone else's world view doesn't line up exactly with mine...
When instead of trying to truly understand someone else's perspective, I am rewriting their perspective from my own standpoint to make the situation more palatable...

AND when something important is at stake:  a friendship, a future relationship, my sanity...then it is time to let go of the need to understand.

Letting go can seem like voluntary amnesia - like (SPOILER) Winston at the end of can be infuriating to have to let go (ok, that was a bad example...a BETTER one is the brilliant video game BRAID - in the end the protagonist realizes maybe his perspective wasn't exactly the whole picture --> look it up or go download and play it if you don't know what I mean).  It's like forgetting that a piece of me exists.  It's like having to mourn yet another loss.

But it is necessary.

In the end, I can't help but think that after we let go - then - maybe then - we can also get the perspective we wanted in the first place.  But not before we go through that process.  In a way - we aren't ready to understand when we are in the state of trying so hard to understand.  Surrender might be a more appropriate word - because it does feel like a defeat - until we actually begin to heal and develop new perspective on the situation.

What bigger thing am I missing out on because I'm holding on to my own narrow view?

It's time to surrender.

It's time to move on.
It's time to heal.

God help me to do so.

And I'll leave you with the very appropriate lyrics from Andrew Bird's Lazy Projector:
If memory serves us, then who owns the master
How do we know who's projecting this reel
And is it like gruel or like quick drying plaster
Tell me how long til the paint starts to peel

Is it like Pyramus or Apollo or an archer we don't know
Though history repeats itself, and time's a crooked bow
Come on tell us something we don't know

Now who's the best boy and the casting director
And the editor splicing your face from the scene
It's all in the hands of a lazy projector
That forgetting, embellishing, lying machine
That forgetting, embellishing, lying machine 

They say all good things must come to an end
Everyday the night must fall
How it all came to this, I simply can't recall
Too many cooks in the kitchen 
How the mighty must fall

But I can't see the sense in us breaking up at all
I can't see the sense in us breaking up at all 
I can't see the sense in us breaking up at all 
Breaking up at all 

And it's all in the hands of a lazy projector
That forgetting, embellishing, lying machine 

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