Friday, February 3, 2012

A dash of anti-perspective.

Our society is governed by perspective. As mortal beings, we're incapable of looking at the world from a detached point of view. Our own memories, opinions, and circumstances warp our perspective into something biased and blind. We can't help it, and I believe it is both a blessing and a curse. Perspective offers diversity in the world, something we need to survive as a race, but it also blurs the lines between fact and fiction, right and wrong, good and bad to the point where one person's standards might be the polar opposite of another's!

This is one of the main reasons I have for a firm belief in education. I'm not talking about grades on a government-mandated standardized test, I'm talking about a well-rounded knowledge of all the information the world has to offer. As humans, we constantly take in information; I would just rather know about the inner-workings of an obscure middle-eastern religion than how much weight Snooki lost. Call me a nerd, but I love to learn. On the rare occasions I watch TV, I'm probably enjoying a documentary on the science channel with my younger brother. I'm never satisfied with just being told that something is the way it is and that's that. I have to know how and why. I believe that the more you know, the easier it is to see the world from a relatively neutral standpoint.

For example, in New York state you are mandated to take a health class in your sophomore year. On the first day of that health class, do you know what the teacher told us? 'Don't be stupid, don't smoke dope!' Well, that's all well and good, but "just say no" to a curious teenager doesn't mean anything. That whole speech was wasted on my class, partially because half of them are stoners already and partially because the other half have heard the meaningless words so many times they just tune it out. The best way to prevent ignorant or unacceptable behaviour is education. I don't know about you, but I don't want to make choices because someone told me to just say no, nor do I want to make choices because someone told me to just say yes! I want to know every side of the story, every positive and every negative. I don't feel comfortable making decisions without weighing out all my options and processing all the information. As a result, I am quite pleased to tell you that I honestly do not regret a single event in my life. Isn't that a better way to live?

I was raised with very sturdy morals and beliefs by my conservative, Catholic parents. They are wonderful people, and I thank them so much for instilling in me a thirst for knowledge because now, I've compiled a set of morals and beliefs entirely my own! As a child, I saw the world in black and white. People were good or bad, opinions were right or wrong. Now that I've grown as a person and been exposed to (and searched for!) a plethora of perspectives and cultures and lifestyles, I've come to see people as just people and opinions as just opinions. Despite the constant metaphorical comparison, life is not a game. No one wins. So why do we have to label everything black and white? We live in a world of dimension and color. Life is too complex to say that one path is the right path. Sure, if you're religious you trust that your faith will lead you to salvation. But just because your next-door-neighbor doesn't share the same beliefs doesn't mean that they can't find a salvation of their own. If you believe in a God, you probably believe that He wants you to be happy. So for the love of all things good in the world, don't do anything--anything!--for the sake of someone else. Research. Discover. Understand. The world is at your fingertips. If you're on the internet reading this right now, you have a planet full of information in the palm of your hand, literally. So take it and form your own values.

The only way a person can be doing something wrong is if they are not being true to themselves. So I challenge you to go out into the world and live. Learn ten new things today. Try to see an issue from both points of view, even if you don't particularly like one. The first step to living an inspired life is to let go of the concept of failure and truly embrace everything, the good and the bad, about being alive.

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