Saturday, September 13, 2008

Double Vision

Many cultures believe the perspective-perception concept is one of the most important life lessons. In African lore, for example, one of the most well-known entities is Eshu.
Eshu is a trickster god, a benevolent-yet-prankster spirit, who confuses people in order to impart knowledge and teach fundamental life lessons.

In one of the folk stories, Eshu walks down a dirt road between two rivaling farms. He wears a red and black hat; the hat is black on one side, red on the other. After he has passed the farms and can no longer be seen, the two farmers come together, asking questions about the stranger with the hat. The first farmer insists that he saw a stranger wearing a black hat, while the second farmer insists he saw the same stranger, with the same clothes, but he swears up and down that the hat was red. As the two farmers continue arguing about the color of the hat, the stranger comes walking back up the road, this time in the opposite direction.

The farmers then realize they were both right; they saw what was in front of them and assumed the other person saw the exact same thing. They never considered the perspective from the other side.

It is hard to understand or believe the other side if we don’t make an effort to see things from their point of observation. We waste energy trying to convince others of the validity of our opinion, but don’t realize that their own standing is simply supported by a different foundation. If we keep one eye closed we can only see one half of the world surrounding us, and we miss out on many opportunities to widen our vision.

By changing our perspective we can change our perception of reality.

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