Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shifting Perspectives

Searching for something in my E-Mail yesterday, I came across one I wrote to a good friend many years ago.  During this period of my life, I used to write very, long, somewhat jaunty narratives to many of my friends.  Reading them was actually quite interesting, as I briefly wondered what happened to that person and what it is taking to bring him back.  More important than enjoy the quality of my own work, was reading an accounting of an event. 

The accounting was at the time present tense and without a doubt completely factually accurate.  However, reading it, if I had not lived the event, I would never guess it was the same as the story as one I often re-tell.  All of the elements which make the story amusing were stripped away in this accounting.  It was sparse, where this story is often full of detail.  It read almost like a newspaper accounting of a throw-away event, rather than one of the best bad date stories I ever lived through. 

Reading this E-Mail again, it brought up a lot of thoughts about both truth and objectivity.  The truth exists in many forms, made worse by the fact that each of us has our own unique perspective and life experiences which color each moment of our lives, from meeting a person for the first time to going to the grocery store to living through a traumatic moment.  Each moment exists for us, with what we think is the truth.

At a later point in life, I was given another perspective on the story, when I met this person again in a very different context.  What I picked out as important and often the crux on which my story is based was forgotten by the other party, while I never remembered talking about my topic of choice, which was far more mundane, but ended up being equally as boring.  And there is even a third version, sparse and containing neither viewpoint, which was also the truth and factually accurate.

When I think about these times, I think about all of the different truths and realities which exist in the world and what they mean to each of us.  When assessing a situation, you need to not only know what you know, but what the other person does not know.  It is so hard to see a situation where the pieces are not your own, yet this experience is real and dare I say, valid.  To think, all of this from reading two lines in an E-Mail.

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