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Positive and Negative Perspectives

Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,


  1. May 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    That was a funny episode. What I found intriguing was you validating that it was indeed your sister. Some would have accepted the assumption and moved on and as a result would not have sparked that particular schism between positive and negative.

    On to the topic of alertness and obliviousness, there are so of us who by virtue of our life story remain vigilant and alert. Many times we expect everyone else to be that way. Admittedly at times, we tsk tsk the less alert people.

    Obliviousness on the other hand implies that alertness to the external environment is diminished. I have noticed this word pick up negative connotations in this day and age of information. Unaware is probably a safer word to use and does not carry the same severity and expectation.

    • claudsy
      May 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Hey there, Meena. I don’t know that I felt the need to validate who the other person was, so much as to set tone for the experience. I think of words having an undercurrent of negative/positive be the tone used when hearing them voiced. Certain vocal tones connote one or the other to me.

      And yes, one’s background does influence how one perceives either perception. I think such experience is also what drives much of animosity/discontent/misunderstanding between people.

      The mind’s ability to pigeon-hole emotive stimuli, as often, depends on the vocal tone one hears during conversation as it does visual impression during said conversation or presentation. What a person hears can also be emotively influenced by expectations as perspective.

      Circular, don’t you think?

      • May 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        I think of it more like a spiral of escalation as anxieties rise with each lap.

        What is heard via tone is key as even the nicest words can be said in the most negative way.

  2. claudsy
    May 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    So very true, my friend. A compliment can turn into ugly accusation in an inflection. All reaction has the potential to spiral up or down according to personal investment and perceived situational position.

  3. Veronica Roth
    May 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I’m one to talk; today my post was about unhappiness while listening to a program all about hppiness. My partner Robert would say that I’m forever seeing the negative side. It’s true, I’ve thought about it a lot…a lot… but honestly my one bad habit is I write scripts in my mind. You know, scripts which when they don’t turn out the way my brain programmed them, results in disappointment, sadness and negativity. I can def. take a note from your book and chose to see things in a more positive way, I’m trying, but it’s me…and I don’t do this easily. The good thing is I never raise my voice and I always try to take myself away to solitude to minimise the damaging effect I have on those around me.

  4. claudsy
    May 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Veronica, there are many people who can’t quite let go of an idea, regardless of whether that idea worked for them or not. You’re not that unusual in this trait. Perhaps you need to concentrate more on the good turns that the scripts make rather than that turns were made in the first place.

    For instance: you’ve got a script about a relationship that’s not working too well–that’s the crisis driving the plot. The twist comes when she realizes that the relationship has always been a bit faulty and not secured on a solid foundation. At this point the main character has to decide whether she really feels the need to “save” the relationship by dumping lots of time and effort into its salvation, or to find out what her life could be like outside the relationship.

    If this is the kind of script change that drives you bonkers, you might re-evaluate the situation by realizing that Muse has given you as realistic and plausible an alternative for your story line as possible, one that might actually give you a better story in the long run. Why? Because Muse got a really strong emotional response from you–a response that can be used to fuel it to make your work into a killer script that will be snapped up in a heartbeat.

    This is an example of using the positive perspective twist to encourage good things in your everyday work. Just a thought.

  5. June 1, 2012 at 5:33 am

    “When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them”
    “This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations.”
    By isolating these two sentences that you stated, I would say to you that it is exactly when we put ourselves in unfamiliar terrain and in uncertain situations and then let go of our expectations and perspectives that we stand at the very threshold of magic where the question then becomes do you really believe what you are seeing? This then becomes the starting point where real experience is possible, just look at Carlos Castaneda’s books as a good example of this. I have been there many times in my life when I actually had to question if what I was seeing was real because I was standing in a thick fog of magic. That was the big draw of the Grateful Dead, where people could just show up at concerts, take acid, and watch the known world melt away. What was left was the magical experience of a lifetime, which is why certain Indian tribes still use peyote as a most valid way to commune with god and why these drugs are outlawed because the government would be in deep shit if millions of people woke up to realize that in fact they were god! Which is something we can never know until we leave behind the expectations and perspective’s that are brainwashing our minds daily! So now we arrive at the point of safety, play it safe and you eliminate most possibility, but to quote Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia in their amazing song “Terrapin Station” “I will not forgive you if you will not take the chance” So I say seize the day and wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world !!

    • claudsy
      June 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Randy, it must just be me then. I’ve never gone anywhere that I recall where I haven’t had some type of expectation, even as a child. In fact, I’ve always heard people say things like “I never imagined anything like that, or I wouldn’t have guessed that this was here.” Surprise at a finding, yes, but there was an expectation, however nebulous, behind the statement; imagination came into the picture and guessing at a possible finding.

      You’re very fortunate if you’ve gone anywhere during your life and experienced the wide-eyed innocence of a child within a different environment that your usual fare. I’d’ve loved to have done that. Perhaps my perspective comes from always having seen the world through eyes too old for my experience level. Or perhaps, it’s simply an expectation of the impossible made real that I’ve always believed in.

      I can’t testify to dropping acid at a “Dead” concert, but tribal use of peyote is another matter. From my experience I know that it’s not usual for the average tribal member to use the drug indiscriminately, but rather for the medicine wielders and shaman to use it for vision clarification. I could be wrong, of course. Each tribal group is different in its practices. Peyote is powerful and does intensify one’s experience. Does it surprise and delight? Good question. For one who’s never heard of its effects, I’m sure that it does. For someone who has been briefed before hand, again expectations have arisen. The same can be said for the “Dead” concert and acid. Unless the person had been raised under a rock in someone’s north forty for all those formative years, he/she will have heard something about the affects of acid on the human brain, which returns us to the question of expectations, regardless of how nebulous they might be.

      Or have I missed something here? Good discussion, Randy. Thank you.

      • June 1, 2012 at 9:47 am

        Then you have never really gone on a true adventure. When I went to Europe the first time I didn’t even know if I would be able to find food or a place to sleep in some places, and came very close to failing in that respect, and ended up driving 6000 miles in 30 days !! Some of the greatest experiences of my life were when I just got in a car with a bunch of people with a sleeping bag and no expectations and drove !!

      • claudsy
        June 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

        I’ve had my own adventures, Randy, with just picking up and going; more times than I care to think about just this minute. Yet, with all of that, I still had imaginings of what I might find along the way or at the other end. There was always an expectation of surprise or confirmation of something I’d been told before I arrived.

        That was doubly true during my sister’s and my adventure of five months on the road from Dec. 2010 and May 2011. We expected certain things because of our objectives and our research. None of them panned out. That’s why I’m in the midst of writing a book about the failures that resulted and the blessings and came from those failures.

        You’re fortunate, indeed, to have had such an adventure.

      • June 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

        You know for me, the Zen of when I play music,is to empty my mind of all thoughts and considerations as much as humanly possible and see what happens.I still remember the first time I fell asleep with a guitar in my hand and when I awoke my fingers were playing something very interesting. It was the first time I ever had such a profound experience of being outside of myself looking at myself.That’s why to this day I still say my fingers are smarter than me and I do my best to keep my mind out of their way!

      • claudsy
        June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

        Ah, Randy, I wish I could’ve been there to see that. I have done that with auto-writing a few times. When we disengage the conscious mind, amazing worlds open up to us and abilities we never knew existed can come out to play.

        Isn’t it fantastic that we have these bits of ourselves to explore?

      • June 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        In that respect Claudsy, I am in agreement with you 100% !!!!

      • claudsy
        June 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

        Finally! We have total agreement. Who’d’ve thunk?

      • June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

        Smiling …..!!!!

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