We were joined by Rohit and his wife Shivani just few minutes before our regular weekly meeting. They seemed to be terribly upset. As true friends we made a good ambit to share the personal tensions. Rohit shared at length how he was detained by work pressures and reached home late last night and how his wife Shivani made scenes at it. In turn Shivani shared her perspective on how Rohit has been insensitive and rude with her.
It was amazing!
When you hear Rohit, he seemed to be absolutely right and when you hear Shivani she too seemed to be absolutely right. But both had exactly opposite stand. Then how both can be right? That became our subject for the meeting that day.
“Each one is always right from one’s own point of view. What we witness is not clash of persons but clash of point of views.”
Reflecting more on the statement I realised Rohit was right from his point of view but was wrong from Shivani’s point of view and the same was the case other way round. I realised, I too in relationships see things only from my point of view. If only we can see things from the other’s point of view life would be so different? But why can’t we do that? Perhaps we need to understand this mechanism of point of view better.
“There can be clash of point of views even within oneself.”
We needed examples to understand this. Sanjay shared his frustrating experience of buying a shirt. From the point of view of comfort one shirt was better but from the point of view of looks, another was better. That one was expensive from price point of view and yet another was good from ‘brand’ point of view. Which one to buy? Now we realised how such decisions become tough because of the clash of different point of views.
“In any deliberations it is important to fix the point of view first.”
To understand this better we decided to take one topic – education. We can see it from the point of view of formation of courage and confidence in the child or can see from the point of competitiveness in the child. Can see it from teachers’ point of view or from parents’ point of view. Can see it from costs point of view or profit point of view. Can see it from a school’s point of view or social point of view. From each point of view a very different perspective will arise.
Then how funny it would be when a group is discussing on a topic without fixing a specific point of view. Unknown to them they will be operating from different point of views. How can they come to any sensible outcome? But that is what we seem to be doing all the time. Realising our folly in our day to day life, we all had a hearty laugh at ourselves.
“Our point of view determines our world view.”
As always, slowly I was realising the extremely serious implication of the point we were discussing. If I look at my life from the point of view of problems than it seems to be full of problems. But if I look at from the point of view of richness, I end up envying myself. From the point of view of optimism everything is great and the same is when it is opposite. Then who determines the point of view?
“If you are alert and internally strong, you can choose your point of view. Otherwise you are a victim of the bombardment prevailing in the environment.”
The point of views prevailing in the environment are such as that of rat race, success at any costs, mind your own business, consumerism, growing fanaticism and so on. They keep hammering me all the time. It is very difficult to save myself unless I am internally strong. I realised how my life is dictated by these influences and creating constant turmoil within me.
“One option is to adopt the humanist point of view.”
Then you will not see ‘the others’ but will see human beings and look at them not from utilitarian or economic point of view but from human point of view.
From humanist point of view your criteria at looking at the world will be different. You will find that good will be what improves life of all, bad will be what opposes life. Good will be what unites people, bad will be what divides them. Good will be what give faith in life and faith in future, bad will be what promotes meaninglessness. Good will be what promotes life, bad will be the fanaticism that opposes life. Good will be what encourages me to make a positive difference to the world, bad will be what will constrain me in selfishness.
Things sounding as simple as point of view – that can not only determine our life but can transform it from the root. And what is important is that I can choose my point of view. What a marvellous learning on my journey to becoming better human being.