Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Assumptions of Perspective

I had a conversation with an old friend the other night. It became clear that we view the world in fairly different ways. And though I strained to find some form of common language, I kept finding our conversation growing more and more polarizing/distancing (or a different word I cannot find?).

I have certainly taken a different path than many that I have run with in the past. They notice. And I certainly notice. And I begin to make assumptions at each new stage, just like those who "stayed behind" still maintain assumptions. Try as we may (or try as some of us may), we cannot entirely rid ourselves of perspective, bias, or assumption. I'm sure most would agree with me on this. But we all have a limit on which aspects of our perception we'll allow to be criticized or deconstructed.

Yesterday, I came across this little 2 minute video from TED Talks. If you haven't heard of TED, you must check the site out. Check out this little video below.

I really do believe that the best way to move in new directions, get fresh perspective, and truly grow in a "whole" sense, is to familiarize oneself with a contradictory wisdom, approach, or perspective. And don't just approach it at a distance; try it on!

Some would suggest that this is a very slippery slope. And to that I say, Slide Away! What are you so afraid of? Losing yourself? Your faith? Your identity? Betraying God? Being disliked? Being wrong? Betraying your tribe?

Well, there are consequences for our actions, no doubt. But inaction can be more dangerous that fierce action in an opposing direction. Something I must consider daily.

I know that I will never loose myself from my subjective perspective...and now, more than ever, I can recognize that as the thing that allows me to be me. I am formed by a blend of my experience and (hopefully) some seed of person inside.

But to realize that I have assumptions can be quite liberating. So I try to recognize my perspective as just that: My perspective.


joel said...

this was an excellent read.

The Misfit Toy said...

but what do you do when your conversation partner only recognizes two possible perspectives, his and the wrong one. how does generosity and humility and love work then?

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

It doesn't work. And that's what sucks.

More and more I see that people only listen and change when they are really ready for it. So I still must be me, sharing my perspective at appropriate times and listening to theirs, hoping that we find something better—together or separate—in due time.

Jon and Tash said...

I can't tell you how many times I've found myself in the same position... slip away, it's the only way. One day (hopefully) the opposing conversation partner will realize that love trumps perspective in every case and then you two can laugh at those days of relational wrestling.