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To Each Their Lens: How we See and How we Can Change

February 2, 2013

Looking through a pair of sunglasses, everything adjusts to their lens–whether black, yellow or blue. Whenever we want to see clearly through untainted eyes, we can simply slip them off and voila.

According to corporate consultant, certified behavioral analyst, college professor, professional coach and hypnotherapist Beverly Flaxington, we are all walking around with another sort of lens–a ‘me’ lens–that we can’t remove. She says we all walk around telling ourselves ‘it’s all about me,’ not literally, but the message underwrites everything we do.

Nobody wants to believe they only think about themselves, but in reality, Flaxington says we have no choice. Even telling somebody, ‘I know how you feel,’ clarifies that you are not thinking about him or her, but seeing their problem through your own experiences.

We have one lens interacting with the world through personal experience, viewpoint of understanding and perspective on the world that affects how we perceive every ‘new’ situation. Flaxington says that everything we see, say, hear and do get’s filtered through the mechanism she calls ‘me.’

Each of us have filters clogged with past experiences, worldview, concepts of right and wrong, behavioral preferences and values. As Flaxington highlights, these aren’t like the filters in a vacuum that you can take out and clean.

Think of a dryer lint trap, which captures fragments of evidence revealing everything that has tumbled around inside–everything tumbling through our lives gets caught by a filter and remains prominently in consciousness or tucked away in subconscious.

But does not being able to see anything as truly ‘new’ actually inhibit us, or expand our potential and highlight diversity that maintains a functioning society of unique individuals able to share varied viewpoints and knowledge to debate to reach solutions? Does it mean novelty is lost? Is it possible to consciously see around everything that distinguishes our ‘me’ lens, and if so, is there a way to strike a balance between youthful, novel and unbiased perception without compromising experienced knowledge and understanding that connects perspective and experience with reality?

These questions are intriguing, but I will leave them open for you to speculate and debate. If you have any insight, please share in comments below. You can, however, manage your clogged filter, sort debris and reduce a cluttered lens.

As society continues to sort through their predisposed industrial perspectives, people are able to begin placing betterment at the fore with innovative approaches to a new world order. New replaces old.

Indeed, people see through their experience, but part of their perspective is shaped by insights into other people’s lives. Sharing stories, traveling to other worlds opens and opinions via interaction and technology release a whirlwind of information. As we grow, so do our experiences. Therefore, dated experiences and predispositions that once maintained our vision of the outside world and ourselves are able to evolve and adapt to new situations.

Much like our lens evolves and adapts, changing our worldview, concepts of right and wrong, behavioral preferences, expectations and values, society is naturally progressing to mirror the way our lens wants to see it. This is a powerful transition, as the ‘social mirror’ has historically strived, and continues to, be the mirror which shapes us–not the other way around.

Nevertheless, as more people begin seeing through a sustainable, resilient lens as opposed to an industrial, detrimental one, the landscape evolves.

As the landscape evolves, so does society and the status quo. No matter what is filtering your lens, if you can see the good in bettering social and environmental conditions for future generations, it behooves you to start setting an example. It starts with you, not the politicians.

What do you think? Are you confined to a lens? Do you think scratches of the past can be buffed out? If so, what works? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. nannus permalink
    February 3, 2013 5:01 pm

    I think our “lense” is not fixed. I think we are creative in the sense we can get out of any fixed structure of thinking or perceiving. So there is some hope.

    • February 3, 2013 5:31 pm

      Agreed, nannus! Perhaps I need to work on getting the message across. I’ve buried the lead! Indeed, I feel there is hope, too, because the landscape is changing, filters are adapting and hope nears. Cheers.

  2. February 14, 2013 5:16 pm

    People are unable to fully escape from their subjective lens, new experiences and insights are added causing slight adaptations to the existing paradigms, more colour added to existing colours.

    • February 15, 2013 4:52 pm

      Exactly. It behooves everyone to be aware of what colors they expose to themselves and to those in their life, especially youth.

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