What do you see in the image above? Depending on where you look at, you may either agree with the person on the left, or the right. Perhaps, if you are the more open-minded kind, you are willing to accept both. If you are a natural debater, you might fight to the bitter end to take a side. If you’re like myself, you would have paid more attention to the fact that the guy on the left has a majestic afro, and the guy on the right looks like he needs to step on the cardio machines. Whatever you saw, it is only an image to represent your perspective in life, an image that screams “you.” And every day, you take billions of photographs.
I doubt that you haven’t heard the phrase “Food for Thought” before, it’s often used in numerous discussions on a myriad of topics, be it politics, economy, philosophy or social structure and laws. The reason why it works is because of how it engages the values, beliefs and identity of different people into one conglomerate of a discussion: you express your opinions on an issue because of the character that you are. It is a minor demonstration on the power of perspective.
We are always changing with our environment. So many factors such as people, events, atmosphere and background all play a role in who we are. Imagine yourself as a canvas, and everyone else has a paintbrush. Some strokes may be small, others may be huge, but they all play a part in the final masterpiece that is you. Your perspective is composed by the “canvas” that you have, and when the canvas changes, so does your perspective. Believe it or not, this really matters. Take the 2016-2017 Presidential election as a prime example of how perspective works. A prominent figure throughout the entire campaign of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton was the use of social media and internet to pool supporters. Among all the 3 a.m. tweets and scurrilous criticisms, people were often confronted with “Fake News.” It became such an issue that numerous news stations like CNN covered this real news story on fake news. (A bit confusing I know…)
Though we are taught as high school students to use “reliable sources,” it’s not surprising to hear that a lot of “Fake News” soon became one of the driving forces in deciding the American election. Why? Because it’s not that people don’t want to hear the truth, but much rather they wish to hear what they want to hear.
Let’s put it this way: If I told you that Calgary passed legislation to have flying cars within the next 5 years for less than $2,000 a vehicle (without payments needed for gas), your first instinct may be “Is this real news?” or “What a time to be alive!” (The image below is actually a flying car that was tested successfully, so for the record it could be real news.)
But think about the statement I just made (which is still completely false by the way, even if flying cars exist); what are the consequences? Alberta is heavily based on the oil-industry, so what happens to the economy? What do we do with the millions of workers who are now jobless? What are the consequences to the environment? How will we have to change traffic laws and roads? Are there implications to the electricity industry? IS THIS EVEN SAFE? No one can answer these questions with a perfectly correct answer, and bam: Food for Thought.
While perspectives reflect our ideas, it also conflicts with others. A conflict in ideology and thought is what creates a divide in our nation. A conflict in thought is what forms the schisms within the fabric of our society. And conflict is fine, your perspective is what makes you unique, it is what makes you distinct from everyone else. It is the lack of respect that people have for each other which creates violence we see today. I don’t defend anyone’s thoughts and opinions, and in fact I do disagree with many of them, however it is more important to realize that simply denying them the ability to speak and express their opinions is not mitigating anything. The power of perspective is much greater than we can ever imagine, but the responsibility is just as great.