We all have our own perspectives and points of view in life. Often, we resist the opportunity to imagine what a different perspective might offer toward informing us of the flaws in our own. Instead, we cling tightly to that which is familiar and comfortable.
This tendency toward confirmation bias, embracing that which supports our point of view and ignoring or belittling that which contradicts it, leads to diminishing our ability to compromise and collaborate.
When one looks up at the night sky and sees Ursa Major, aka Big Dipper, Orion, or Cassiopeia, these sky shapes directly depend on our point of view. Travel some 10 to 100 light years away from the earth; these familiar forms are unrecognizable. (as a sideline, those enamored with astrology should bear that in mind. The astrological influences upon which the practice depends are unrecognizable in the overwhelming vastness of the universe.)
It might do us good if we could take the time to look at things from a different perspective. Understanding those with different viewpoints is the first step toward compromise and progress.
I know this may infuriate many people, but one’s religious perspective—no matter how sincere it may be—is a product more of geography and, thus, perspective than any other basis. For example, if you are born into a family practicing a particular religion, you are more likely to adhere to such faith; historically, this was primarily geographic. Likewise, while not as certain, one’s political perspective exhibits a similar pattern.
We are all influenced by those who raise us and by those who we interact with. Suppose we ignore the opportunity to communicate with those of different backgrounds and perspectives. In that case, we risk diminishing our capacity to learn and expand our understanding of the many other points of view.
Our politics have become a zero-sum game. Our willingness to listen to different perspectives is now seen as a weakness. If our point of view does not dominate, we blame farcical conspiracies and invisible dark forces arrayed against us. All of which diminishes our society.
One does not have to agree with another’s perspective to understand it. One does not need to concede an error in your own perspective to see something from another point of view. One does not show weakness by allowing that others may have an equally valid, if different, point of view.
But remember that those constellations seen by humans for millennia are only there because of our perspective. They are not fixed in place, nor are they the same everywhere in the universe.
It’s time we remember some simple rules. No one ever accomplished anything of significance on their own. Every single advance by humankind resulted from cooperation, a blend of talents, perspectives, and ideas. Unless we embrace the philosophy of collaboration and compromise, we risk letting the divisions between us tear apart this country. A country based on diversity and differences.