Have you ever wondered, “why can’t we all agree?” What do you see when you look at the world around you? A beautiful landscape of colors populated by dream-seekers using their gifts to serve a purpose? Or a fast-paced mob of power hungry heathens anxious to devour anyone standing in their path? Or, do you see one of the million variants in between these extremes? With a unique approach, this blog explores why so many of us don’t agree.
We interpret the world differently
It’s no secret we all view the world a little differently, but to further illustrate the point, we’re going to use Bigfoot. Check out this iconic clip featuring “Patty”.
Now, check out the image below. Do you see a large condor, massive in size? Or, a great Teratorn Merramis–a large condor-like bird that lived during the ice-age commonly believed to have gone extinct? Some believe it still lives and think they may have seen it.
“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”
We could debate whether or not Bigfoot is a man in a suit, a bipedal ape, or something else entirely. We could also hold heated discussions about extinct Teratorns and debate their continued existence. But the simple truth remains, not everyone will agree unless we observe the same facts.
Why can’t we all agree?
I am far from being a philosopher, but I do spend a fair amount of time contemplating issues that affect the well-being of myself, my friends, and my family. And as a social worker, I interact with a significant number of people who are impacted by the unfortunate dynamics of the world (I’m sure you do too).
In The Legend of Bigfoot: Leaving His Mark On the World, we take a look at the rise of the Bigfoot culture and what the bipedal hairy creature could be. Very simply put, how you or I interpret Bigfoot or any situation depends on three things: Our perspective (what we think), our perception (what we believe), and our knowledge (what we know).
These personalized verbs vary slightly for each of us but are worth exploring so we don’t get all bent out of shape when we don’t see eye to eye with others.
- A. A mental view or prospect. B. A visible scene especially: one giving a distinctive impression of distance.
- A. The interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed places the issues in proper perspective also: Point of View. B. The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance – trying to maintain my perspective.
- The appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions.
- Other definitions in relation to drawing, etc.
Our perspective is partially determined by our worldview, but it’s also determined by our circumstances. Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin saw Bigfoot from a creek bed, the rest of us witnessed it on video. Did they tell the truth? Or was it a publicity stunt for Roger Patterson’s new book? We don’t know. Only those who were there know. In the video above, Bob Heironimus admitted he was in the Bigfoot suit and passed a liar detector test. But, Roger Patterson also passed a liar detector test.
I could say, “It’s all a fake,” or “What you see is undisputable evidence.” One of them is the truth and one is not. In between, exist A LOT of variants.
How to Gain Perspective
We gain perspective by separating our emotions from our beliefs. Emotions cloud our thinking, so every time you feel the heat rise inside your body, be aware that your ability to think clearly decreases. Regret comes when we act on emotion.
You can separate from your emotions in several ways, but here are four that have worked for me:
- Time – When you feel your emotions rise. Back away, physically or mentally. Don’t react. Let a couple hours or even days pass. Then react if you still feel the need.
- Journaling – Write down your emotions and your thoughts until you discover what is at the root of what you are feeling.
- Empathizing – put yourself in another person’s shoes. Try to et a glimpse of the world from the perspective of your opposing force.
- Reminding yourself that you always have a choice to be right or to be happy.
- The result of perceiving: Observation.
- A mental image: Concept.
- An awareness of the elements through physical sensation.
- Physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience.
- Quick, acute, and intuitive cognition: Appreciation.
- A capacity for comprehension.
You know that quote “perceptions become reality?” I despise it. While it’s true, every time I hear it, my head wants to explode with frustration. If you look at the definition and what I’ve placed in bold print, you’ll see the majority of perception is based on personal interpretation. The so called facts don’t even have to be true–only true to the observer.
We all know that people form opinions based on their personal observations and experiences, but just because someone is having a bad day, a stressful moment, or a mental breakdown, does not mean they are unhappy, rude, or weak. I find it irritatingly simple-minded and inexcusable that people form biased opinions based on limited observation (but we do it…all the time).
Learn the facts. Ask questions. Then your opinions (or perception) will be rooted in the rich soil of knowledge. Perception plays a key role in our mental reasoning, but it can lead us astray if it isn’t backed up with knowledge.
Education (or lack of it) begins in the home and continues throughout our lives at varying degrees, based upon our interests and career paths. Or, in the early years, based upon the interests of the trusted adults in our lives. My mom was not a book worm. Nor did she go to the library, so I didn’t read much as a young kid. But my mom was an artist. We played with crafts and learned to use our imaginations. My mom taught me to sew, and I made my first pair of pants when I was ten. Probably shouldn’t have worn them to school, though. Because… perceptions become reality, and homemade in the 80s was not cool.
- A fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.
- The sum of what is known: the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by human kind.
Seeing is believing. And only the witness of an event knows the truth. Since people lie for personal gain, to drive a cause, to protect a reputation, everything outside observation should be viewed as assumption and speculation. We can listen to people, go to museums, read books. But real knowledge comes through life experience.
Disagreeing on the existence of Bigfoot and non-extinct Teratorns might not be what tears a relationship apart. But these same principles apply to every area in which we disagree. Understanding that our perspective, perception, and knowledge play key roles in decision-making can help us face an opposing force without anyone getting hurt.
What is the goal? Really?
If you’d like to read more about cryptids and worldview, we currently have one book available and one book on the way. Check them out here.
Thank you for reading, and remember, “The most dangerous worldview, is the one of those who have not viewed the world.” —Alexander Von Humboldt