Whether sitting down for coffee, watching a form of media or engaging in an online discussion, the shared experience is being felt and thought about in quite different ways. My perspective of the world is both inevitable and a limitation. There are innumerable other possible lenses for viewing my experiences through, an observation born out each and every time I enter into dialogue with another person. Every instance of miscommunication notes the potential problems, even as an active attempt at understanding the other view leads to an expansive exploration I could not have done by myself.
That inability to explore alone is what drives me to write and share within a digital world. I could stay within the confines of my immediate surroundings, interact only with work colleagues, friends and passers-by, and yes each of these visions of our shared world would and are worth exploring, but the modern digital world has opened up a potential market of perspectives that borders on gluttony. When faced with such a bounty and working within the acknowledgement that vision is an active engagement, exploring different understandings of the world is like going from a flashlight to a lantern in a dark room.
As Jacob Bronowski notes:
But we are in any case mistaken if we think of our picture of the world as a passive record. The picture is made by, it is made of, our activity, all the way from the logic of the brain to the use of the plow and the wheel. It is the implication and the expression, in symbolic form, of all our dealings with nature. The picture is not the look of the world but our way of looking at it: not how the world strikes us but how we construct it. (The Identity of Man)
Each offering of writing is not simply a declaration of my own view, it’s a request for and a seeking of continued engagement with the world. If all the potential perspectives of the world were a pie, mine is an infinitesimally small slice, though no less important because of it. This isn’t an equality of truth, but a recognition of equality in expression. My understanding of life and my place within it grows not in the echo-chamber of my own mind, but in every contact with another degree of perspective.
Again from Bronowski:
Our experiences do not merely link us to the outside world; they are us and they are the world for us; they make us part of the world. We get a false picture of the world if we regard it as a set of events that have their own absolute sequence and that we merely watch. (The Identity of Man)
Whether it be explorations of politics, spirituality, psychology or the social movements I find fascinating, all is done within a consideration of the active link I have to it and an eye towards all who share in the journey. I’m here with you, not simply watching life go by, trying to keep moving forward.
© David Teachout