Perspective is important.
Everyone has one. The word “perspective” is often interchangeable with “opinion” or “worldview.”
And it is everyone’s perspectives, when they come into contact with one another, that we have conflict.
The problem with perspectives and worldviews is that they are limited.
When I was a child, my worldview was very small because my world was very small. The world was made up of my home, my family, church and school.
When I was a high schooler, my perspective was only slightly bigger. Even at a school of two-thousand students, that makes for a pretty small world.
The problem is that for most of us, our perspective never outgrows the little pot we have ourselves planted in. Most high schoolers have a perspective that is about as big as high school. And most of us adults have a perspective that doesn’t really outgrow our little world – our family, job, bank account, and whatever little extracurriculars we drive the kids to.
I do truly believe that this is why public discourse in our culture is so awful.
Lack of perspective.
We Americans hear statistics that were sampled from Americans, but they are portrayed as if they are global.
We assume our famous people are famous everywhere.
We Americans make up such a small part of the global population, but we can be endlessly egocentric. It’s why we think our problems are the biggest, the most important. It’s how we get away with telling ourselves that we are poor or persecuted. Just by reading this sentence, you prove that you are among the top income earners in the world.
If only we had the courage to get a bigger perspective on ourselves, we would stop thinking of ourselves as perpetual victims, and start being empowered to reach out to others and solve problems.
I truly believe that our culture would change, our discourse would change, our faith would change, if we were able to collectively see outside of ourselves, look beyond our horizons, put our priorities in perspective.