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Pinhole Perspective

Posted on 2014.05.24 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114

Those who've spent any amount of time online are no doubt aware of Godwin's Law which loosely states if an internet discussion goes on long enough, someone will eventually draw a parallel to the Nazis - its a unique phenomenon until diversity of the various parties involved is factored in. Then it makes perfect sense. Nonetheless, an interesting cultural occurrence.

Riding on the metaphorical coattails of Kathryn Schulz (were that she wore such attire), I therefore announce the "Pinhole Perspective" which is simply, both side of an ideological disagreement will eventually cite Schopenhauer's logic as their own burden of proof, no matter the subject being discussed.

Which really, isn't proof at all. Schopenhauer states,

All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

Dismissing the improbably that all truth goes through these stages, simply stating Schopenhauer's logic isn't a presentation of evidence! One cannot just lay it out there and suddenly one group capitulates to the other; its not proof of anything, least of all justification for a belief that one group is right and another group is wrong - especially when both groups are using it to punctuate their side. How is that supposed to work?

And yet that's what run into time and again. Vigorous debates to determine who is right and who is wrong rather than a compassionate appeal to one side or the other - a compassionate appeal which includes accepting not everyone will agree with our point of view, no matter how right we think we are. They're allowed to do that. To not agree with us. Additionally, when we're so very sure of our own opinion, it makes it more difficult actually consider the other side - we may become blind to any other perspectives other than our own. Difficult? Absolutely. But required, I think, in order to grow.

The more often we believe a thing to be true, the deeper we unconsciously etch into our minds that we're right about it. This is how beliefs become immutable, no matter the argument.

If we truly desire knowledge, our minds needs to diffuse that "Pinhole Perspective" and live as prismatically as we claim. Our actions and behavior rises above the din of our words.


michelle1963 at 2014-05-24 13:03 (UTC) (Link)
In discussing controversial subjects with others, I have noted three basic outcomes:

1. One or more party's desire to win the debate at all costs. Often the subject is painted in very black and white terms. Acknowledging the validity of any position from those with a contrary opinion not allowed. Result, no true exchange of ideas. A waste of time and energy.

2. People on either side of the aforementioned black and white viewpoint immediately understand that no one has the desire to modify their respective viewpoints, drop the subject, agreeing to disagree, and go have a beer.

3. A true of exchange of idea with each party trying to understand why the other holds a certain viewpoint and being willing to articulate the reasoning and experience that led to their own. conclusions. Both understand the subject at hand is not black and white, but complex. Each leaves the convo with a greater respect for the other, more to think about, and perhaps a modified perspective. Exceedingly rare exchange, and priceless.

Also noteworthy: someone who is able to state, "I don't know what the answer is, but here are my concerns, here are the pieces of the puzzle that seem to be significant." When someone starts out with: "The answer is simple....," to a multi-faceted, complex issue, I stop listening.

raingirl26 at 2014-05-25 18:54 (UTC) (Link)

random thoughts on this topic

i would love some examples of how to be open to things i don't believe are true. hwo do i know if i've given an alternate point of view it's due? certainly there are some things we don't have to question that we believe are true? wait - i know we can question everything, but do we need to do so simply because someone posites an alternate?
ehowton at 2014-05-26 04:30 (UTC) (Link)

Re: random thoughts on this topic

For me its taking in new information. If someone knows something I don't about a subject, and its enough to persuade me to change my mind on it, that's better I think than remaining rooted in your belief no matter the new information. I don't believe in extra terrestrial aliens, for example - but if someone pointed me to a research article from a credible source discussing irrevocable proof, it would be foolish of me to remain in disbelief.

As far as giving it its due, I prefer the scientific method. If it stacks up, great! If not, great! Because either way, you've learned something new, or reaffirmed your belief (which is always a good byproduct of questioning things when someone posits an alternative - it strengthens our own). Best part is now you can have more compassion toward others by better understanding their point of view whether you believe it or not - and I feel that helps everyone.

Personally, I find that if I've lived with a tried-and-true belief too long, it may become invalid given any number of changes in my knowledge, experience, patterns, socio-economic status, and even the company I keep. I also find that I mature along the way from time to time; given these variables, its highly likely that I've changed my mind on any number of beliefs I had as a younger man, and the only way to find out, is when they're challenged.

I hope that makes sense!
drax0r at 2014-05-27 13:53 (UTC) (Link)
You know who else was always quoting Schopenhauer? The Nazis.

Think about that.
ehowton at 2014-05-27 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
crowy at 2014-06-23 05:22 (UTC) (Link)
I didn't have to go back 18 months for the answer. It's right here. But I will keep reading.
ehowton at 2014-06-23 07:34 (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful deduction.
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