“It can be…difficult to learn how the world truly is, to see it in its true shape and form. Most human beings never do.”
Cassandra Claire in Clockwork Angel (p. 62)
I wonder whether anyone can ever understand how ‘the world’ is? Everything we see is coloured by our own perspective, and they can be dramatically different. A world view varies between cultures. No one sees the whole picture: we’re like the blind men and the elephant, no matter what we want to be. The more we learn, the more we understand how much we don’t know.
What do you think?
An interesting perspective may I add. You make it sound like the world is all relative. I’m not so sure. There must be some absolute truths otherwise it’s all just a spaghetti soup. And then there is the question which is greater truth or love? I think that’s kind of interesting and would think that love is greater. What do you think?
I absolutely believe everything is relative. Take the 10 commandments. Or one, as an example.
Thou shalt not kill. But we have soldiers. We hire them to be prepared to kill for us to defend xyz (you pick: home, hearth, the downtrodden, overseas oil investments). The whole American gun debate is about the right to kill someone who is threatening you, your family or your home. Do people hold the two (or is that three?) thoughts simulaneously? If one accepts each point as absolutely true, it requires some seriously Orwellian double think.
The only solution is that ‘not killing’ is a relative principle. It should probably be, “Don’t go out and kill people unless they’re threatening you somehow, and it is unavoidable.” But that’s a little more awkwardly phrased.
I think it’s thou shalt not murder. I think we’ve all seen those detective shows on tv where someone does a premeditated murder on someone. Whether a soldier killing someone is murder, that’s a big question. I’m not sure it’s relative but perhaps more of a scale. At one end, defending your country at the other plotting and murdering someone.
Is there a difference? What is relativity if it’s not a scale? One person’s ‘defense’ is another person’s ‘murder.’ It’s all in the perspective. The knights who went on the Crusades- were they murdering the Islamic defenders? How about the Israelis removing Palestinians from land they’d held for centuries? Nothing is black and white. It’s all relative…
I didn’t answer your last question. Since truth is relative, I think love has to be the answer, if love takes the shape of kindness, consideration, and a willingness to understand. Those loving qualities are the bearers of what is true, and what is true, is not necessarily the truth.
Just to say I agree with you mostly. I am amazed you seem so slack in the States, when in comes to gun control. I always thought the States was supposed to be the number 1 country in the world but when it comes to gun control others seem to have more sanity.
You are right if things are relative and not black and white then by definition they are on a scale.
I have also thought about the Palestinian question as well. They did get chucked out of their homes by the Israelis. No wonder they get upset.
I also agree with you about the crusades. That was a bit nuts as well. I wonder if the present problems in Palestine originate from way back then.
However in my way of thinking I want there to be absolute truths. That’s why I’m probably going to go to church this morning. I hope you have a good day.
I don’t live in the States, Tim.
I am Canadian, and we definitely have gun control here, though too often guns get across the border and into the hands of the criminal element. There are way to many drug related gang deaths increasing.
As far as being #1 in the world, I think the only thing the USA is consistently first at is rates of hand gun deaths. So sad.
Wanting absolute truths and there actually being absolute truths are two different things. But if truth can set you free, one wonders whether the truth is that there is only the greatest commandment to rule one’s actions: love your neighbour as yourself. That’s definitely quite freeing!
It’s funny I follow by e-mail this US woman called ‘Flylady’. Basically because we live in a chaotic house and I was hoping she could do something. She is on about how a lot of people actually don’t even love themselves. The second commandment seems to suggest that people automatically love themselves. I’m not sure that’s true though. Fly lady says the Fly bit of her name means to finally start loving yourself.
I’d be interested to know what you think.
I used to follow Flylady, too, back in the days of individual emails. Shining the sink is not as easy as it it seems! 🙂 I like her idea of zones, getting dressed down to your shoes, and those timed de-clutterings. I don’t do them, but I like the concept! lol
To my way of thinking, ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you’ isn’t so much about love, as it is about respect. If you wouldn’t want someone to take your stuff, don’t take theirs. If you wouldn’t want someone to curse at you, don’t curse at them. If you want people to be patient with you, be patient with them. If you want to treated courteously, treat others courteously. That’s just mutual respect.
The Clockwork Angel. What a great title. I’ll be hunting this down.
I agree completely. “The more we see the less we know.” I find my world view and my grasp of humanity constantly challenged. And I like it that way. I don’t think I should be complacent with what I know. I should strive to know it also from other angles and other eyes.
Travel is very broadening to one’s perspectives.
I agree! The more we understand our own eyes that see the world, the more we can let much of the world just be as it is.
As the exchange student mantra goes, “Not better, not worse, just different!”
I think your right on! The blind men and the elephant is the perfect parable to exemplify what your saying. Food for thought. Thanks!
Perspective does color everything. Or “colours”, if you prefer. All our words and arts are employed to present our muddled view of what’s real. Then we hope that others can comprehend a sliver of what we’re saying. We also mix our metaphors in comments to further muddy the rivers of our mind’s train-tracks. Judge us not too harshly, we know not what we do. To do is to try. To be is to keep trying. Amazingly, things get accomplished anyway.
I think that this author is absolutely right – Some people get it, and some don’t. Between those groups – one individual may think that his or her view is correct, while another person may hold an opposing view that she or he feels is correct. We can never have a total understanding of all views of such an ever-changing, complex world. It is a bit paradoxical, but I do think that we can find temporary – total understanding of all that is necessary in our subjective existence: A place where we are conscious of the environment and/or ourselves. At that point : we sometimes can predict what is required of us, and are satisfied with the knowledge we have – in that moment. For those that grow old and wise – perhaps that moment of understanding can stretch out over years (at least intermittently). I hope I can make it there!
Mediation and negotiation: the art of trying to help opposing sides appreciate each other’s point of view. A great challenge!