Posted by: Phil Anderson | March 1, 2015

A Matter of Perspective

There’s been an amazing amount of debate this week  about “the dress” and what color it is. I’m not going to weigh in with my opinion because it doesn’t really matter. What’s most interesting to me is how people react to those who see things differently than they do. And this applies to more than just a picture of a dress on the internet.

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Some things just seem obvious. We have a tendency to assume that there’s only one answer and that everyone else will see it the same way that we do. When someone does express an idea or interpretation that differs from ours, we question their perception and not our own. “How can you not see it?” we might ask. “It’s as plain as day.”

I think about this a lot when I write. When I finish a passage or a scene, I look it over and try to think about how someone else would read it. Is what I’ve written clear, or can it be interpreted some other way? Could someone misunderstand the words or the way they’re put together? Could it be taken to mean something I didn’t intend?

In writing and in life this happens all the time, with thoughts and ideas that are much more important than the color of a dress or scenes in a fantasy novel. Our own ideas about politics and religion often seem so obvious to us, and we just can’t understand how someone could see things differently. Is there something wrong with how they view the world? Are they unintelligent?

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t hold fast to our beliefs, nor should we blindly tolerate and accept every opinion as being equally valid. There are concepts that are absolutely true, and others that are completely wrong. But before we start questioning someone else’s sanity or education, we should consider the matter of perspective.

First, consider your own worldview. Do you know why you believe what you believe? Do you accept it because someone told you, or have you explored and investigated it yourself? You should not question anyone else’s opinion until you can defend your own.

Second, consider the other opinion beyond just knowing that it’s wrong. Analyze it to determine what makes it wrong. You may find a key argument to help others see it your way. On the other hand, you may discover that the opposing view is not incorrect.

How about you? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you have a different conclusion? Leave a message below.

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Human Interest.

  2. […] I mentioned last week, we often assume that our thoughts are obvious to others because they make perfect sense to us. […]


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