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December 17, 2018

Acknowledge Multiple Interpretations

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Let’s talk about perspective.  I normally talk about this with relation to appreciating our life in the context of the larger world, and the blessings we have that go unnoticed. However, I actually mean more of the artistic perspective. Artistic perspective is the way that artists can represent three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface. This naturally has its own limitations because information needs to be conveyed in a way that has a consistent meaning. As far as we know, there is a lot of interpretation to art, and perspective is no different.

The same thought can applied to our own perspective in this world. Think of our eyes as viewing only a 2 dimensional picture when the world exists in 3 dimensional. A great example of this is the shadow given off by a cylinder. Look at it from the top and see that the shadow is a circle. Look at it from the side and the shadow is a rectangle. Same object, different results, and neither is wrong.

The goal is to acknowledge multiple interpretations. The second we get into thinking that our vision is the only way to see things is the second we close our eyes to everything else happening.  

A few techniques to make sure you see, well, know about the whole picture. First, is ask someone what they think and listen with an open mind. Note the differences and adjust your view. Second is to be empathetic. Place yourself in the shoes of the other person and brainstorm reasons why they might see something differently. And last, the classic, play devil’s advocate with yourself. Find flaws in your own reasoning and bring attention to those limitations.

I’m no artist, but I thought that example would help illustrate the point. See what I did there?

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