There’s two sides if there’s two people. There’s three sides if there’s three people. And four for four. etc. etc. No two perspectives are identical. You’ll even change your own perspective over time because we all unconsciously edit our memories based on our history, which is always changing. We each learn to see the world in different ways because we’re all focusing on different things and we’re all giving them different values. So is a concert good or bad? That question has little meaning because it can be someone’s favourite band, but if they broke up with their longtime partner just beforehand then the concert is reduced to a painful reminder of a lost love, whereas for another person this is the first show they could ever afford to go to and they don’t even care which band is playing they’re just so excited to even be able to afford to go. And those individual perspectives will cause them to see absolutely everything differently. They might even use the same words and sound like they mean the same thing, but words are extremely flexible ideas. Is “justice” punishment, revenge or rehabilitation? As always–everyone will have their own view. So when you hear someone tell you what happened, what they really and truly mean is that they are giving you their impression of–or perspective on–the parts of it they were able to even perceive. And while they may not be lying, the fact remains that their personal view has no way whatsoever of ever being able to represent a larger truth.
Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor, coach and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.