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Different Perspectives: A Moment With Bill Reflection
We Are One and the Same, but Still…..
“A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. So they don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”
I suspect Mr. Jobs was speaking about more than just computers in that quote.
There are two definitions of perspective that I think are important for this discussion:
The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.
b. Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view: the perspective of the displaced homemaker.
The first has to do with the individual and his/her relationship with the whole of humanity and in fact life. The other has to do with a point of view unique to each individual. Because I am, by nature, a contrarian, I’ll begin with the second definition and then circle back to the first.
Our Personal Perspectives
A black man is walking downtown one day when he sees a young white woman trip over the curb and fall down hard on the sidewalk. He rushes over to be of assistance and bends down to help her to her feet.
Stop the story right there and let’s gain some “perspective.”
The young woman was born and raised in Alabama. Her parents were racists, her aunts and uncles were racists and her grandparents were racists. She sees a black man approaching and her heartbeat increases. By the time he reaches her she is panicking and she lets out a scream in fear.
The black man, our good Samaritan in this story, is the son of two school teachers and was born in Minnesota. He was raised in a loving household, a home of compassion and empathy, and he was taught from a young age to help those in need. By the time he reaches the young woman he can see that she is upset and he is determined to do everything possible to help her.
A shop clerk not fifty feet away was raped when she was fifteen. She has lived the past ten years in constant fear, and the scream she hears from outside her shop reminds her of that night long ago when her screams were stifled by a large hand, and her childhood was ripped from her forever. She grabs a baseball bat from under the counter and rushes outside to help her fallen comrade.
Down the block the scream is heard by a couple who are out walking their dog. They see a commotion up ahead, and a woman down, a black man running towards her, and they are reminded of the night their home was violated and all their possessions stolen. They quickly turn around and walk in the opposite direction, safe in their cocoon as the problem fades from view.
One incident, four different perspectives; one reality and yet four completely different interpretations of that reality; welcome to the world of homo sapiens.
An exaggerated example? If you believe that then I have some swamp land for sale in Florida you might be interested in. We humans are a complicated species, the sum total of all of our experiences and lessons learned. There are thirteen billion nerve cells in our minds alone. There are millions of receptors in our bodies gathering information, translating that information and basing beliefs upon that information. We are intellectual and we are primal. We are logical and we are irrational. We are caring, spiteful, magnanimous and petty, all rolled up in one complicated machine that has no equal on this planet.
There are seven billion of us now, and each one of us has a unique perspective that greatly affects our actions and responses to stimuli.
So what’s the point? Do you really need to ask? Until you have walked a mile inside the skin of another, how can you possibly judge them? To put it another way, casting stones might not be the best decision if you are surrounded by the artwork of Dale Chihuly.
It’s all about perspective, baby!
Words to live by
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The Other Perspective
The relationship of one to others and to the whole….
“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one”
My thanks to John Lennon for perfectly explaining my next point.
We need each other!
I’m tired and I don’t mind saying so.
I’m tired of the hatred. I’m tired of the name-calling and the apathy and I’ve been tired of it since I first became aware back in the early 1960’s. Nationalism and tribalism and antiquated beliefs based on false premises and it all adds up to an unrealistic view of a very simple reality….we need each other.
This is a global society, interconnected in ways most people are totally unaware of, and the sooner we come to the realization that we need each other the sooner we can put all this nonsense behind us and move forward towards our higher calling. We are angels who, immediately upon receiving our wings, took out a pair of scissors and clipped our wings, thus preventing flight. The scissors represent our incredibly limited understanding of perspective, and until we gain this perspective we are doomed to a life of flopping around on the ground instead of soaring with those who found the truth.
“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together”…..
No man is an island as no man is a universe as no man is a pauper, rich man, ruler or serf. When the Grim Reaper drops by your home, the possessions and best intentions will be tossed upon the refuse pile of insignificance, and all that will count….the only damn thing that will matter…is how you lived your life.
Do you want perspective? You are one of seven billion people and you matter not at all.
Do you want perspective? You are one of seven billion people and you matter greatly.
For this is the great riddle of life: what is insignificant and significant at the same time?
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- A Moment With Bill | Reflections about life
Reflections about life (by Billybuc). Join me every other day as we look at this thing called life and try to make sense of it all.
So It Seems to Me
The only way, and I mean the one chance, that any of us have to get this thing called life right, is to come to an understanding that we are all equally important, and that every damn one of us has infinitely more commonalities than we have differences.
The only way we have any chance is to toss aside the blinders and begin to understand the perspectives of others, and once armed with that knowledge to begin walking around inside each other’s skin.
The only way we avoid a doom of our own making is to love each other as we love ourselves.
And that, my friends, you can take to the bank.
How’s that for perspective?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”