Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

There are always three sides to every story: your side, the other side, and the truth.  

Sign in Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto ON

We are self-centred by nature and even the most unselfish person of our acquaintance is likely to take offence if their point of view is ridiculed. Grandma always told me that people who never disagreed lacked intelligence. But it is possible to hold to your own opinions and convictions and also see the perspective of someone else. The person with the ability to see the big picture through eyes other than their own is very wise indeed.

I bought a new camera last month (justified by selling my older one to my dad). I was sitting in my car on a street in downtown Toronto last week waiting for my daughter. The sky was dull and gray and the neighbourhood was less than inspiring. I set the camera to the "fish-eye effect" and took a picture of graffiti on the shop next to the car. The change in perspective made the picture much more interesting.  Across the road, a young man from a company called Graffiti 911 was using a high pressure water hose to clean the wall of a pharmacy. The store owners were unhappy with the spray painted words, but another person was earning a living because it was there to remove. The "fish-eyed effect" pictures show two different ways of looking at graffiti.

It appears that the world is becoming more polarized as people with opposing views refuse to make any effort to bridge differences in order to dialogue with people who have a different perspective. It saddens and frustrates me to see what is happening in American politics at this time. I wonder if there is any hope that our neighbours to the south can bring the open bickering and hateful name-calling under control and promote respectful discussion and collaboration. The same problems exist in workplaces, churches and families when personal viewpoints blind us to the position of others.

The most interesting pictures are taken when a camera captures an image which is different than our usual visual perspective. I can look down and focus on the fact all the leaves have fallen from the trees or I can look up and see the blue sky and sunshine which could not penetrate the leaf cover all summer. The upward view is the more inspiring November angle in my opinion. Looking at the big picture from various vantage points opens the mind to creative possibilities and solutions which benefit us all.

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; 
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."  
James 3:17-18 


  1. It is more than sad when one holds on to their personal truth for no other reason than to be right. The sky looks so beautiful between the tree branches.

  2. Mexico Mom11:40 pm GMT-4

    An excellent blog written from the heart. Right on!!

  3. Enjoy your camera.

    This is a very nice template.

  4. Interesting.
    As one of your neighbors from the South — politics will always be divisive because in a land of freedom everyone feels entitled to their opinions and perhaps no responsibility to the metaphysical notion of being opinion-less & only omniscient.

    Politics throughout the history of the world have always been polarized... at least there weren't police dragging out fire hoses or national guard people shooting college students.

    The world is always going to be full of strife and people who disagree. The ubiquitous presence of multiple cable news channels just turns all of what was always already there into a hyper-loud echo chamber.

    Just keep your perspective and your feet on the ground, and you'll be fine.

    Nice shots!
    : )

  5. Ruth--thank you for such a gentle way of pointing out the great truth that how we view things determines how we react to them.

    (And I do love the new camera effects.)

  6. What a wonderful post, Ruth. I especially like the verse from James. I only wish more people would recognize the truth contained in those words and take them to heart.

  7. Thanks for your comments. Sarah, people have always and will always have differences of opinion but it is possible to be respectful of the viewpoint of others. The problem I see is the inability to get work done and move ahead because of an inflexible mindset. I agree the media and internet amplify small issues unnecessarily and emotion-triggering email forwards spread misinformation like wildfire.

  8. Amen my friend... amen. It's one of the reasons I almost did not even make the effort to go to the polls (I eventually did) because I am so sad and weary of just what you so eloquently describe here. Looking forward to seeing all the beautiful images from your new camera.

  9. I get tired of the Democrats versus Republicans and conservative versus liberal thing. It's seems to be all about big egos and trying to grab power instead of working on compromises for solutions. Sometimes they surprise you though- Clinton was able to accomplish some things by taking ideas from the Republicans and presenting them as his own ideas-it worked. I think President Obama should take a page from Clinton's book.

    Interesting post Ruth.It seems that the USA is not looked upon favorably in other countries these days.I hope that changes in the future.

  10. Fantastic post Ruth...truly.

  11. Wisdom comes from studying different persepectives, I think, because we can't possibly know much when we focus only on our own view.
    I like your photos - great food for thought.
    I'm as disgusted by the name-calling in U.S. politics as you are. I just hope these folks will work together now that the elections are over.

  12. I love your writing Ruth. I learn so much from you. Keep them coming :)


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