I’ve been looking at buying a flat panel monitor for my wife’s computer. I had a friend of mine email me a link to the monitor he has. In the email he was bragging about the color definition on his monitor. I looked at the monitor online and then, with tongue firmly planted in my cheek, responded, “The color definition doesn’t look any better than my monitor.” He laughed and thought it was pretty funny and then suggested we head over to a computer store and look at one in real life.
The incident reminded me of the TV commercials where you’d see a whole bank of other TV’s and you get to compare the picture quality. As a kid I remember remarking to my dad about how stupid those ads were. We never even had a color TV so I got a kick out of a Magnavox commercial showing a bunch of color TVs and I only saw 6 relatively identical black and white images. Today it’s the same thing. You can brag about your 1080P HD images all you want. Showing me a picture of it is not going to convince me unless I already have a 1080P HD TV. And in that case I don’t need the advertisement.
Well y’all know how I think. I couldn’t help but take this experience and extrapolate it out to other aspects of life. How often do we try to relate to somebody else and not take into account how they would see it? Each of us has certain filters that we view the world through. Expose somebody to a new idea and they are going to experience it differently than we are based on those filters. Suppose a friend were confined to a wheelchair. She would likely see a youtube video of a rock climber with a whole different attitude than I would. It would remind me to get off my butt and work out a little bit more, but it may bring nothing but discouragement to her.
I see this same thing come up all the time in discussions. Take the topic of climate change. Many people are only looking through the filter of politics. And it is a very political issue. I have many friends who refuse to accept the science behind climate change because they are afraid of what the political ramifications might be, higher taxes, increased cooperation with other countries, etc, etc. All of these are honest political concerns and there is nothing wrong with debating them. When I put on my political filter I see much the same image that they do. But if we could look at it with another monitor, if we could set the political filters aside and look at the science alone, ignoring the politics for now, I think it’s much easier to see the real image.
Lately there has been a lot of press about some remarks that were made by an LDS general authority at last week’s General Conference. I think we have the same thing going on to a great extent with this issue too. Those in the gay community have their filter that they are looking through and the faithful members of the church and church leaders are looking through another. Both sides seem to be talking about the same event yet they each see it in completely different colors. I have my own opinions about this issue too. But I recognize that my perspective may not be any better than the others.
It’s all too easy to jump to conclusions based on just our perspective. I’m not going to completely dismiss purchasing the monitor that my friend sent me until I check it out in person. Similarly I try not to completely dismiss anyone’s opinion or idea until I’ve at least attempted to view it through the same filters that they have. Now I still may not buy the new monitor or accept the other opinion. But at least I have made a solid attempt to view it in the most realistic way before I dismiss it or accept it.
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