If we’re looking to understand life, where do we start? Maybe we look at things from the top down and bottom up; considering everything in the light of that fundamental division. Perhaps we look from the inside out and outside in – at what life means from those perspectives. It could be no “one way” of looking is entirely complete, but don’t we have to understand this reality somehow?
There are perhaps countless ways we could attempt to make sense of modern life: many lenses to look through, viewpoints to take, theories to spin around where we stand and what our priorities should be. Maybe there are as many perspectives as there are people? Each looking at life based on their experience, understanding and expectations of it and forming their own, personal judgements (Notes One).
How can we ever be sure, then, of being on the same page? This idea of everyone singing from the same hymn sheet as we strive towards the same vision of the life we’re hoping to create. Sometimes it seems we might all be standing on slightly different fracture lines within the same, one reality – each having experienced life differently, becoming aware of slightly different aspects of “how things are”.
Can any one theory or solution encompass all that our lives have exposed us to? Won’t each view of reality always be unique, significant, and personally lived? Each thread of humanity bearing within it an individually-experienced reflection of the world we all share. Each person perhaps hoping their existence matters to the others of their kind, as we’re all making choices that affect one another.
Thinking of life from the inside out, we might focus on what life’s like from each person’s perspective: the messages they receive, expectations placed upon them, labels they’re asked to live with, opportunities offered, and so forth. This sense of how “life” presents itself to each person and the meaning embedded in every aspect of that reality – the face the world turns towards them. (Notes Two)
Equally, we might look at our lives from the outside in, in terms of the messages we send through how we’re living. Don’t all our choices ripple out to create a discernible picture for those on the periphery? Our values and priorities effectively on display there through the way we’re acting with regard to those in different times, places or stations of life. (Notes Three)
If all that we do carries meaning and serves to either build up or take down structures within our lives, isn’t it important to understand what that picture is? What our actions “say” and “mean” from every side seems a fundamental part of reality. While it’s far from easy to figure out exactly what’s happening now and how it’s fitting together on the global level, isn’t it part of our responsibility to try? (Notes Four)
Understanding how we got here, what we were hoping to achieve, and how well that’s working out seems such an essential part of being human.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Absolute or relative value
Note 1: Making things up as we go along
Note 1: All that we add to neutrality
Note 2: Humans, tangled in these systems
Note 2: Imperfection as perfection?
Note 2: Society that doesn’t deal with the soul
Note 3: Being trusted to use our discernment…
Note 3: The picture data paints of us
Note 3: Values, and what’s in evidence
Note 4: Will things change if we don’t make them?
Note 4: Too much responsibility?
Note 4: Navigation, steering & direction