Friday, February 08, 2008

Vantage Point

Have you seen the previews for the movie "Vantage Point"? I'll admit, I'm not much of a political thriller sort of person, but the idea behind the "who-dunnit" is pretty intriguing. Depending on which way you saw the situation "go down" is the truth you perceive to be true.

Interesting that that movie would be coming out tomorrow - (I think it is, maybe next week), as that whole theme is running rampant through my mind tonight. I had an enlightening conversation with a very good friend this evening - and through the course of the discussion, it just made me realize how differently situations can be perceived based on each participant's vantage point. Because we are fallible people, because we don't all have perfect memories, because we are wounded, because we are jaded, or simply because we have to throw our own experiences into how our minds process data - each of us could conceivably tell a very different story to any one event.

I find myself now reworking in my mind some things I thought were truths - only to hear another vantage point - and be forced to re-evaluate. It's a good thing to have these reminder times - and I'm thankful for the opportunity to use this blog as a journal at 11:35 at night (a good 3 hours after my usual bed time), so I can process some of my thoughts.

I'm trying to come up with a good analogy of my other train of thought - the damaging effects of passing on questionable information about others. When I did a talk one time, I remember how profound it was (and convicting) to read that each time we share information about someone, we are forever altering how the other person will perceive that person. We are, in essence, giving them a new set of glasses to look through every time they see this "subject of conversation". Pretty soon, their perception can be so distorted that they may never have had the opportunity to see who this person really is. That's getting a little heavy, but as a case in point - I remember on one occasion at a group setting, someone was pointed out to me, that I never knew, as being "a bad influence". I never met the gal that evening, barely recall recognizing who she was. However, later, as I came in contact with her at another group situation - I found myself avoiding her, thinking it wouldn't be wise to get chummy with this person. Later on, I found out that I had the wrong gal - and the person I was avoiding was really a total sweetheart. But, for at least a month - I had another label attached to her forehead..... pretty sad.

All's to say, I've got a lot of work to be done before I ever reach perfection..... (it won't be happening until Heaven folks....), and tonight has given me some good lessons. It's also taught me to really weigh what I hear carefully, and avoid coming to conclusions until I know I've been given real truth - not just one person's vantage point......


Anonymous said...

How true. When I started this job the office manager told me all sorts of damning things about my bosses...about a year later I finally blew my stack and told my boss (!) I thought he was a dishonest businessman. Some of the things I believe about him turned out to be wrong, or twisted to look worse than they were. I was lucky I wasn't fired. Another huge humbling moment in my life (pride is my number one struggle, I've learned).

The last couple years it seems like I've learned a lot about the wisdom of keeping my own counsel. I used to thing "truth" was king but you're right, it's better to withhold those nuggets of truth and let people form their own opinions.

And yeah, I thought that movie looked good too. I recently watched a PBS show about the JFK shooting that was fascinating.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Oh - another thought - I just realized it's another prideful thing to think "truth" is king, and that somehow MY version of things IS the truth!!

Like you said, it all depends on your vantage point. Something more for me to think about.

Colie said...

I recently realized the power that others have on me. Their opinions really affect my own. One important person in my life was frustrated at another important person in my life and so then I began feeling some hostility in my heart.

Luckily I caught myself before it put up a wall in my relationships. I realized this probably happens more than I think. In this case I love both people so much so it made me really think about it. In other cases I may just file the information and move on until I come into contact with the person. I will then have feelings and frustrations that are not warranted. It's annoying and frustrating.

Because of this (and your blog entry) I am rethinking my words. It's so true Steph - once we say something about someone to another person - their view is altered. We cannot take the words back!

Good lessons!

StephieAnne said...

Thanks for validating me, guys! Sometimes those late-night mind wanderings can go a little astray, and I'm glad it struck a chord for others as well. Amazing the subtle tricks Satan can use to destroy......