“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” -Marcus Aurelius
Truth… reality… it’s a matter of perspective.
The fact checkers in life don’t like to hear that, and certainly wouldn’t agree with my statement. (This I know well, I was married to one.) “You can’t change the facts,” he would say. I do understand that concept, I don’t consider myself foolish. But… how does one know what the facts are if not by perceiving them? And is it not through our own perspective that we perceive?
Physics even shows us the results of an experiment can be determined by the position, the perspective, of the observer. The fact was, a few hundred years ago, the earth was flat… and the sun rotated around the earth. Even today, many would argue that polar bears are actually white. (I’ll get back to that one.)
A more light-hearted example is this. My granddaughter was looking at some old photos and spotted me, but wondered who the baby was I was holding. The photo is about 35 yrs old; I was just a teenager in it. I believe my granddaughter knew it was a photo of a younger me, but I don’t think she could grasp the concept of just how much younger. From her perspective, she was still looking at a grown up person.
When I told her the baby in the photo was her cousin, my granddaughter was surprised. “I didn’t realize you were so much older than her!” she replied. “What do you mean so much older,” my 50 year old self responded. “I was only about 15 years old in that photo.” Then I realized from my granddaughter’s perspective, the 15 year old teenager she was looking at in the photo had already lived twice as long as her little 8 year old self.
The next time I drove over to their house to pick up her and her sister, they climbed in the back and into their Disney princess booster seats. A moment later I heard a sweet little 8 year old voice from the back seat very politely ask the old lady in the driver’s seat… “How did you get around when you were young?” “Horse and buggy,” I told her.
Everything in life is seen through our own unique perspective. Even if we feel that we understand to a large degree where someone else is “coming from”, it has its limitations. We do not stand in their shoes, nor do they stand in ours, and we can never know what is in another person’s heart. Our path, our perspective, is uniquely our own.
Some of you may be aware of this, but about those polar bears I mentioned, their skin is black, and no, their hair isn’t white either. The hair follicles are hollow, colorless. They appear white because of the reflection of the snow.
Things simply are not always what they seem. We can find peace within our self and with others, if we keep our hearts and our minds open.
The source of the polar bear photo is unknown to me, I came across it years ago and extend my gratitude to the photographer.