There was an experiment where two people sat on opposite sides of a desk looking at a ball suspended between them.
They were asked to describe the colour of the ball.
One said “blue”, the other said “red”.
They were then asked to reach agreement on the colour of the object.
The argument progressed for some time and became very heated. Neither side giving way on their stance.
At no time did either of the protagonists offer to come around to the ‘other side’ of the desk and see the problem from the other person’s point of view.
If they had they would have discovered that one side of the ball was coloured red, and the other blue.
The problem did not arise from the object or situation being considered but entirely from the points of view of the observers.
You and I will notice that the observers, through not observing properly, and not considering all points of view, quickly ‘took sides’ and became protagonists.
You and I are also aware that this unfortunate human trait is happening all the time and in all situations.
It’s happening now, it’s happened in the past, and it will continue to happen in the future.
I believe it’s probably quite fair to say that you and I aren’t immune from this habit either. We all do it – to some extent or another.
You see – it’s one of those things we’ve been trained to do. To see things and situations in a particular way and from a particular point of view.
To see things in ‘black and white’ – or red and blue.
That ‘point of view’ will have been strongly influenced by our parents and teachers own points of view: political, religious, ethnic, national, cultural, or whatever – and of course, ‘all of the above’!
It’s rare that parents and teachers together actually encourage children to develop their own point of view but when this does happen the ‘inevitable’ conflict as children approach adulthood tends not to occur, or only takes place on a very minor level.
What usually happens is that, as they grow older, young adults either completely oppose or reject their parents/teachers principles, or adopt them but become more extreme in rejecting anyone else’s point of view.
Either way most people seem to be becoming more and more extreme in their opinions; more and more unwilling to look at the coin from both sides (and the edge as well), instead fixing their view and opinions on just one side.
“The ball is read and you are a liar” – “No, you are the liar, the ball is blue”.
How many times have you and I heard, seen, or read that discussion in the last few weeks?
The thing is, that when you and I get dragged back into these paradigms of ‘one side of the coin’ thinking we’re missing a trick, missing an opportunity.
You and I do ‘look at the other side’ to discover that there may or may not be something there for us.
The grass on the other side may be greener, but it may be fake. But at least, unlike others you and I take the trouble to check it out, see for ourselves, listen to what people on the ‘other side’ have to say.
It may not be for us, and it could even sometimes be dangerous, but at least it gives you and I a better and more informed point of view.
Remember though that from time to time you and I may be ‘right’ in what we think say and do; but to others, who haven’t seen our point of view, you and I are ‘just wrong’!
When you and I see the world from their point of view it helps us understand ours, and their view of us. Only then can we start to interact.
You and I must make the first move because otherwise there’s no persuading them to even consider looking at the situation from our point of view.
“You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine”
Point of view that is . . .