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The Single Perspective

And how to overcome it

Sundial in Cornwall, United Kingdom.

The majority of people have trouble understanding the views of other individuals. These views, also called perspectives, are expressed through opinion, conviction and subconscious behaviour. Philosophers call this Personal Truth. But truth is truth and fact is undeniable, you may say. Empirical fact is always objective! Or is it? Maybe the question should be if your facts are indeed objective? Here is a ‘fact’ to ponder. Modern atomic clocks are calibrated to a certain microwave radiation produced by chemical elements like Cesium or Rubidium. And although these clocks are the most accurate devices on the planet, they can’t reflect space-time with one hundred percent preciseness. Atomic clocks don’t measure time, time is not a set ‘thing’. Time is the passing of one moment relative to another. This is most obvious for a sundial where you can actually observe the movement of the planet relative to the Sun. Atomic clocks measure the gap between the observation of atoms in a certain state and what was measured previously. That is shown as the current time.

But all clocks, atomic or not, develop a discrepancy relative to the Universe around us between certain points of observation. Time can only be measured in relation of the observer to their surroundings, and those observations vary at different speeds. Einstein postulated this in his theories and this was proven by astronauts in space. On return to Earth the space clock showed to be out of sync with its paired one that didn’t go up, the former ran faster. And if you think about this a little bit more; every fact actually is subjective truth relative to our perception. Money for example isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. We as a society have made an agreement about its intrinsic value. But this is a perceived value based on many factors and also one of a multitude of reasons why economies fluctuate. Stock markets operate based on trust, not actual fact. But some people couldn’t care less about having a stock portfolio and still be happy. This is a perspective relative to living a certain way of life.

People are all unique and there are as many subjective truths as there are inhabitants on this planet. This is still tough to conceptualize unless you have the consciousness to match. Government leaders for example have to make policy that serve the interest of many. If they don’t, it won’t be long before the people start rioting and things go astray. The most successful countries and stable economies are led by people who are in contact with their electorate and cross the bridges that exist between streams of thought. Have you noticed how the economies of banana republics always seem to fail? It takes much wisdom and integrity to become a good politician. Skilled politicians become diplomats and these people are able to combine perspectives thus bringing solutions in situations where points of view differ greatly. These special envoys are true expectation managers.

IQ has nothing to do with successfully dealing with multiple perspectives by the way. The ability to sense what the person opposing you actually means is found in the realm of Emotional Intelligence. A different word for this competence is Empathy. Empathy is the art of understanding another person’s intent or thought. There are several techniques to develop this. One ‘trick’ borrowed from Psychology is to assume everybody else is right, same as you are. Also try to realize others always operate from their limited point of view. They are limited in the sense that they don’t know what you know and your combined views always lead to a bigger and more complete picture. You can never change someone’s mind, but it is in finding the nuance that perspective can sway opinion. I find that quite often people actually mean the very same thing but use totally different words to describe their point of view. Or indicate their lack of nuance. This depends on how your brain perceives and reads this article. But your success in life depends on how you relate to others, captains of industry know this. They have learned Empathy. And they have also realized: absolute truth is what a collective agrees it to be. Not what a single individual thinks it is.

Enjoy your day.

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