by Fred Leeds
Eyes are funny things. Everybody gets a different pair of physical eyes, of course, with physical colors that may be blue, green or brown. The mind’s eye, the thing called perspective, is even more special, however. Each person’s perspective is a shade different from that of others, just different enough to shed light on what the others don’t see. The individual way we see things, while partial to us, makes a vital contribution to human perspective as a whole.
Amy is too kind-hearted, everyone agrees. She has too much empathy, lacks judgment in judging others. While this is her flaw, it is her asset too, as she leaves room for those persons others would throw away, lending new hope to the unwanted person in each of us. The quality hidden within her sensitivity is something her friends know about first-hand.
Tom is crazy about the unusual, a hoarder of facts and a collector of neglected ideas. He is known as something of a cool geek. In his own small circle of friends, he is known as something more. They see that his interest in the unusual is really his virtue, for he rescues possibilities which others discount. It is not just that he can remember the height of Mt. Everest without peering in a book, but he knows something too about the hidden mountains of the mind: where the Dalai Lama might be coming from (apart from Tibet), how we secretly share in the substance of the stars.
Exactly where we oddly or uniquely differ, just where the community separates into the individuals we are, there arise fresh possibilities and slants of light. Amy’s kind-heartedness may stem from her sensitivity, but it reminds us to embrace our whole humanity. Tom may undervalue others’ more general knowledge – he has based his reputation on a mastery of the obscure – but he teaches us something genuine about qualities and ideas which are subtler.
Each of us has a special perspective like Amy’s or Tom’s – a way of seeing that may hint at broken places but adds something to a shared vision. They are not technical or scientific points of view, but living ones. When voiced and shared, they help us build a panoramic window, a lens on the continuum of human perceptions. Like all things human, this lens is not yet finished but alive and growing, imperfect but true to a deeper hope.
© Fred Leeds September 12, 2009
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