“I'm not crazy. My reality is just different than yours.”
There are some things that I know, in my heart and mind, to be true despite not having any evidence. There are some things that I perceive to be true, usually presented through evidence. There are some things that are true, but which I know nothing about from my current perspective (I don’t know what I don’t know.)
Each of us has a different perspective from which we experience life. These perspectives are constantly changing and adapting. When we learn something new, our perspective changes to incorporate our new learning and it becomes a part of our reality. Sometimes this new learning causes something to drop out of our reality to make room for our new knowledge.
With these different perspectives, it is hard to imagine how we all get along. It is hard to imagine how we can co-exist, each of us having our own reality, and often our reality conflicts with the reality experienced by those around us. This is where disagreements come from. This is the cause of wars and unrest. This is why we label some people as crazy. This is why we say people are delusional.
No matter what we might think, no matter what our experience is, our version of reality does not preclude somebody’s conflicting reality. They both exist, whether in agreement or in conflict with each other. Neither is wrong, they are just different. Sometimes we can find a way to co-exist, and sometimes we have to completely separate ourselves from conflicting views.
This is what life is all about. This is what makes or breaks relationships. This is what enables us to expand. When we consider, however briefly, a conflicting viewpoint, we expand the possibilities within our own mind. Even if we end up not accepting the alternate view, it has still opened the door of possibility. Considering another’s viewpoint is often referred to as being open-minded.
No matter how open minded anyone is, they will not accept everything. There is no way that any of us can do that from our limited perspective. We judge the world from our perspective, and we draw our own conclusions.
In light of this, how do we spread knowledge? How do we determine what is true? How do we ever come to agreement on convention? It isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
Most of us have a very similar perspective about most of the things in our lives. Our environments are perceived in a similar fashion, and thus it isn’t surprising that we can, at least in principle, on many of the perceptions that we currently hold as true. This body of shared “truth” becomes our body of “knowledge.”
Sharing the knowledge is the difficult part. In our society we have come to the point of almost forcing people to accept the body of knowledge. We don’t like it when people question what we know to be true. We teach our children, from a very young age, the things that we perceive as truth. We teach them what we perceive as right and wrong. We expect them to accept what we teach them as “the” truth.
Of course, we want our families and our friends to be accepted into our society. We want them to be perceived as normal. We are taught to avoid conflict in our lives. We conform. Is this a good thing?
I am a proponent of free thought. I like to offer people the opportunity to take a different point of view, to question anything that doesn’t ring true with them. I like to consider differing opinions and see if they make more sense to me than my current views.
Although I strongly believe in the value of education, I am not so keen on our schools. I feel that we have developed a very narrow view as far as perspective goes. We have determined what is right and wrong, what is true and what is false, and we are forcing these views on our children through their participation in schools. Our schools are set up to “teach” rather than to enable our children to “learn.”
Each of us must decide for ourselves that which we will believe. Each of us must adjust our view of the world according to our own experiences and our own thinking. Each of us lives in our own reality and we need to realize and respect that somebody else may be experiencing life from a completely different place and that their reality is no less real than our own.
That’s what I know. You may know something completely different.
Do you believe that there is “one truth” or do you believe in the validity of different perspectives? Do you judge people with a different perspective as wrong? Leave a comment and let the community know your perspective on this. We’re listening.