Every single day, I wake up with a set of metaphorical goggles over my eyes. It affects the way I see things. It is a filter for my experiences and relationships. These goggles are a vital part of determining my perspective. Like those sunglasses with particularly yellow lenses, it shades the way I see the world. And that shading affects what I think, how I feel, and what I do.
Here is the real dangerous thing about waking up with those goggles. I don’t realize they are on. Or I forget. I think I am just seeing the world and I assume everyone else is seeing the same world I am. And that any reasonable person would come to the same conclusions as I do. I think I am seeing things as they are, but I am really seeing things through my goggles. As I perceive them.
And that is dangerous because those goggles can be deceiving. They can be disruptive. Their lenses can be untrue.
Formulating a Lens
So how do these goggles come to be? It is the result of my experiences, the messaging of my parents and influential voices that surrounded me during my formative years. The lenses we have over our eyes are the filters of our own bias and predisposition. We can’t help it. The world is too big, too vast, too diverse for us to truly see it for all it is worth. So we learn how to see it in a specific way. A way that may or may not be true. But even if it is true, it is not The Truth. It is not the full picture.
Instead of inspecting our own lenses, or even acknowledging we have them, we just go on assuming we see all there is to see. And anyone who disagrees is either willfully ignorant or willfully evil. They, in turn, are looking at us thinking we are willfully evil (or ignorant…or both) because we aren’t acknowledging and agreeing with their tainted view of reality.
Round and round it goes. Everyone fighting to be heard but nobody willing to listen. Everybody having a view of the truth, but losing their ability to discern what is true and what is deception. Not only that, but unwilling to admit someone else might be seeing a corner of the truth their lenses are cutting off.
We get this idea of “my truth”, that there are competing realities. So, we get this weird cultural alliance between those who say there is no truth and everyone has a right to their own version of reality (which is a kind of theoretical position of popular culture) and at the same time they make it clear anyone who does not recognize certain elements of the world are evil (this is what happens practically – via religion, race, politics, sports allegiance, etc.).
Like most things, the solution begins with ME. Not them, not they. This is not an idea that needs to be applied to Republicans or Democrats. It is true of Republicans and Democrats. This is not something the oblivious person in your office needs to hear. This is something you need to hear.
We have to begin with an inspection of our lenses. We need to acknowledge that we wake up with those goggles on and start to ask ourselves what experiences and voices informed the making of those lenses, how does it affect how we see, and how do the views of others invite us to enhance our understanding of reality.