Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Inherent Danger of "I'm Right! You're Wrong!" --Understanding Those With Different Perspectives

Every day I sit at my kitchen window and look out at this patch of scrub oak in our back yard.

One day I was struck by the notion that while all the other scrub oak trees grow with crooked, twisted trunks, there is one tree that stands perfectly straight. So strange. Yet I could see it with my own eyes. There it was. Straight as could be. See it there on the left?

I kept wondering how that one tree managed to grow straight up while all the trees around it grew in every chaotic direction.

Then I walked out in the yard and realized if I looked at the same tree from a different direction, the tree I thought was straight is actually just as crooked as all the rest—it just looked straight because of my point of view. From my kitchen window I was looking at it straight on and couldn't see the directional bend.

I also realized that from the new spot in the yard where I was standing, there was yet another tree that appeared to be perfectly straight, while all the others around them were chaotic and crooked. See it there, just off center in the back?

In fact, from nearly ANY spot in the yard there might be one tree that appears to be straight while all the others are crooked. 

So three different people, standing in three points of the yard, could all be looking at different trees at the same time, and say that THEIR tree is the straight one. They would all be right. And they would all be wrong.

Oh, the lessons from nature! Could it be that all our perceptions are at least partly colored by our perspective and experience? How many ideas are we digging in our heels about, when it might pay to stop and look at the situation from another person's point of view?

QUESTION: What political party might have a helpful perspective you haven't considered? When was the last time you added to your faith by including the perspective of someone from another persuasion? 

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