What are we and Why?
There is an old question that I got asked in philosophy class that is reasonably…
Fads and customs change, some we keep up with, some we ignore. Though honestly it is probably a good thing that some fade into the ether; did anyone want ’70s plaids in polyester double-knit to continue forever?
When “MTV editing” first started showing up in films, I remember people complaining about how distracting it was and thought it would never catch on. Now, watch a movie or TV show and see if you can find a cut that is more than 15-30 seconds and that’s often felt to be too long between cuts (don’t get me started on the whole “handheld” look where the screen shakes like a headless epileptic chicken).
During the Bush-Cheney administration, economists were going on about the tragedy that would occur if oil went and stayed over $50.00 per barrel. Just today I was hearing someone talk about the current “low price” of oil was a problem and that it would be dire if it stayed under $50.00 per barrel.
To be fair, the speakers are “experts” that have to say something, how else are they going to get paid?
Another example is the video above, 1969’s “Sweet Charity” and its “Rich Man’s Frug.” If made today, this fantastic work by Bob Fosse would be lucky to receive a few seconds. The film would likely cut to Shirley MacLaine and Ricardo Montalban, who would start discussing something while the music, little less the dance number, would be left in the dust (and the cutting room floor).
None of these are perspective issues that are going to cause the end of the world; they just illustrate how fluid our vision, likes, and perceptions are.
Perspective is the filter through which we perceive and associate with the world around us. “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” are expressions of varying perspectives.
One of the central themes of the series is learning to differentiate between the actual history of one’s life and the perceived version that we tell ourselves, as they would put it, our stories.
As with so many of the things I write about, the first step is becoming aware of your perceptions.
Have you ever noticed that you seem to torpedo your day? Do you find yourself occasionally poisoning your feelings as well as those around you for no apparent reason? Most often this is due to your current perspective.
We filter our understanding through a maze of previous experiences and ideas we carry around with us. Have you ever noticed you can have the same experience happen in two days, yet your response is entirely different?
On the day you are in a good mood, a difficulty passes as a minor inconvenience, a blessing can be nearly rapturous. The opposite happens when your current perception filter is a foul or bad mood; difficulties become enormous and benefits can be ignored and missed altogether.
The idea is that our previous experiences and how we process them color our current relationship to the world.
We have all had one of those days when you get out of bed and stub your toe and the whole day goes downhill from there.
When we start looking at our responses to the experiences in our lives, we can begin delving into how we perceive and respond. Scientology calls this “Clearing” and is the aspect of their practice I most support, the concept of the “Reactive Mind” is quite excellent (in theory at least).
Begin by looking for those extreme responses to seemingly minor and trivial events that occur. As you become aware of these moments, you will start to be able to interrupt the automatic responses.
One surprising trick is just to smile. When something gets on your nerves, smile. When people around you are bringing you down, smile. It seems silly and simple, but smiling appears to have a biochemical reaction that affects the psychological state of a person.
Start here to begin with, notice your auto-responses and smile and see what openings occur for you to intentionally change your perception of experiences.
To start you on a fun foot, take a watch of the video and reacquaint yourself with the Frug, it is kind of fun to watch.