Click + to add content
The Importance of Perspective

The Importance of Perspective

a Story of Far & Near



Rate article:

No rating
Rate this article:
No rating


Imagine, it's the dead of winter and you're all cozy in your upstairs room just east of the bay in Olympia, WA. You're drifting off to sleep when you become aware of a resonating sound outside your window. As you lay listening intently, your mind is trying to match the sound to something familiar. It's kind of a far off roaring sound that lasts for 3-4 minutes. It starts off slowly like an engine cranking up, ramps up quickly, runs steadily for a while and then dies down.

You're mind begins to scan the area, trying to think of any large engines that could be heard from a distance. One thought that comes to mind is the huge lumber yard down by the bay. Do they have a giant saw or mill devise of some sort?

The puzzling part is that that sounds comes and goes at regular intervals, as if it were scheduled. Is there a train, perhaps that comes in every 15-20 minutes? A ship? If so, why does the sound of it coming and going last for at least 3-4 minutes? Can't be a train. It's not loud enough to be annoying from a few miles away, but how loud must it be in the closer neighborhoods? Having just moved to the area, I'm not familiar with the local industries and am at a loss.

After a few nights of puzzling over it, I finally get to ask the owner of the house, who has lived here for more than two decades. She starts racking her brains about what could be in the area that would make such a sound. She has never noticed it, but her room is on the ground floor and buffered on the west by another room. We give it up as a mystery, both secure that I will discover it's origin at some point.

As she retreats downstairs, I call her back because the mysterious sound has risen again. We both stand and listen. She agrees that it is strange and can't imagine what kind of machine it could be until - she opens the window to listen. Just outside the window, the exhaust stack from the household heater rises from the roof. It is humming softly with a hollow, rather eerie sound as the heating system cycles and the air moves thru it. Mystery solved!

The reason I am writing about this rather mundane subject is that I consider it a marvelous lesson in perspective. How often do we experience something that we do not understand and witness our mind as it tries to make sense of the situation? The mind's first reaction is to search the files, looking for some experience or acquired knowledge that will help us to fit the unknown thing into a category which is known and understood. Once it settles on the 'known', it continues to search to find other facts that fit into the picture. At some point, the mind offers a conclusion.

How often does what we think we are experiencing have nothing to do with the reality of the situation? How often are we convinced that the situation must be a certain thing, and nothing else is considered as a possibility? How often are we completely mistaken and refuse to consider alternatives, even when they have been offered with evidence? And what if the conclusions we have come to are not way off in the distance somewhere, but are indeed just outside our window?

How close do the facts need to be before we realize what it is we are actually experiencing?



Collapse Expand Comments (0)
You don't have permission to post comments.