Archives for posts with tag: colored by perspective

I’m drinking cold fizzy water. My work day is over. My Traveling Partner is in his shop, making something specific of nothing-much components – tools and knowledge make a lot of things possible. I reflect on small irritants, and things for which I am grateful, too. Sometimes the irritating things in life feel damn near inescapable. I often find that taking time to savor the things in life I cherish, and to reflect gratefully on the many many things in life that don’t irritate me, is time well-spent and a helpful anodyne to the plentiful aggravations life may throw my way.

Perspective matters.

Yesterday began well. A lovely day.

One very cool thing about perspective is that it can change. It can be willfully, deliberately, altered – by choice, if you’ve a will to choose to do so.

A strange haze began to develop, later in the morning… or was it just a trick of the light?

It’s tempting to see perspective as a single point, just one way of looking at something, or one position from which to consider things. Is it, though?

There’s definitely a haze, later in the day, and a high wind storm warning to go with it.

There’s often more than one “right answer”, more than one solution to a problem challenge, more than one way that “things go together”. On and off I keep contemplating perspective, and how best to make use of it to understand the country I live in, my own circumstances, or the strange times I find myself in. We’ve only got this one planet, and these all-too-brief mortal lives…

The otherworldly result of smoke from distant fires.

…somewhere, communities and forests and fields are burning. Fire season. Cities, too, for other reasons. It’s a very good time to contemplate perspective – and to broaden it. There’s more to understand than I can even grasp. I have another drink of water. I’m grateful for cold clean drinking water. I’m grateful for this place I call “home”. Even that sick strange orange sky – I’m grateful to be able to see the sky, and to breath the air. I read some of the news. It’s bad in some places. I put it down – it’s not new news, just words about things I’ve read before.

What are you “for”? What are you “against”? Why do you feel that way? What have you done to test your assumptions? (I’m betting you’ve made more than a few assumptions, without testing them; it’s very human.) Would you refuse to test drive a change of perspective if you knew doing so might change your thinking? What does your answer tell you about the person in the mirror?

Too many questions, and my water bottle is empty. The sky is still a crazy sort of orange that fascinates and alarms me. One way or another, we’ve got to begin again.

We are each having our own experience. As true in this calm moment as in any moment of chaos. 🙂 I sip my morning coffee, already cold because I got caught up in listening to music, and chatting with a friend online. I don’t mind. The music – and the friendship – are very much worth my time.

I sit here contentedly musing over the conversations of the week behind me, and the evening, last night. It was an excellent first week at the new job. It resonates pleasantly in my memory. My Traveling Partner and I worked out plans to do with benefit selections, and changes to the budget for the year to come. No stress, anxiety, even though the topic was definitely to do with money. I smile and let myself recognize the growth that experience implies – and the healing. I’ve come along way with myself, and savoring that awareness is, itself, a form of growth and healing. 🙂

At one point, we decided to watch a couple of videos that intend to contrast “get ahead habits” with “fall behind habits”. Both had excellent content, in some regards. Both were also deeply flawed, depending on context, perspective, and framing. This presented a challenge for me; I was viewing them from an awareness of other experiences that made some of the points in these videos… problematic. For one thing, I’ve told you that these were videos about getting ahead versus falling behind, but the content creators don’t actually frame them up that way at all; they say the videos are about “poor people” versus “rich people”. I found that, frankly, highly objectionable, and it kept getting in my way of my ability to listen deeply to the actual points being made, which in several cases had real value. More than anything, the implicit definition of “rich” as de facto equivalent with “successful”, “deserving”, or “good”, and of “poor” in a litany of negative ways presented with a shaming tone was super aggravating. The videos were purposefully made with a very particular demographic in mind; people who want to get ahead in life, from where they are right now. Rich versus poor is a common enough false dichotomy in our culture, and it’s also not uncommon to blame poor people for poverty, or to treat rich people as though they are also ethical, and deserving. I just also think it’s fucking mean to take that approach.

Here’s the thing, though; the content has value. The points being made were not in error, generally. The points were merely drastically over-simplified, lacking in nuance, and stripped of context – in order to make those points more obvious to an audience that may not understand. The terms “rich” and “poor” weren’t being defined with any clarity to provide context – rich is rich, and in the videos no distinction is made between wealth gained through ill means (fraud, theft, exploitation), inheritance, or good fortune, and wealth gained through skillful endeavors. Actually, and I think it is what was annoying me most, the videos very carefully imply that all wealth gained is a goodness, and eschew any discussion of ethics. Same with poverty. The content providers allow an implication that enduring poverty rests on the decision-making of the poor, without even a hat tip to misfortune, institutional racism, or the very real limitations our culture has placed on people’s access to the tools and knowledge that might ease their scramble from poverty to… not being held back by poverty. The content only has two options: rich or poor. No discussion of middle-class success… or any discussion of success versus wealth – conflating cash hoarding with success in life tends to lock out viewers who might see success quite differently than a mountain of cash.

I watched them again this morning, and considered the points from many angles, allowing myself to “talk back” to the faceless narrator. I got more from them the second time through. I still think the content could have been more nuanced, deeper, more authentic, and more informed by explicit discussion of ethics, success, and happiness “metrics” that are more legitimate than a bank balance. I ask too much; the content provider knows their trade. I am not their audience – I am an eavesdropper gleaning something useful from a discussion that doesn’t have much to do with me, really. The target audience may not have the will or interest in also learning to live well, behave ethically, be their best selves, and treat others (and the world) well. They aren’t there yet. They just don’t want to be poor. An understandable position to take, and I hope they succeed at escaping poverty.

I hear my Traveling Partner stir in the other room. The weekend is here. I smile and finish my cold coffee. It’s time to begin again. 😀