-Two people looking at the same thing using different lenses of interpretation.
This concept was derived from the Nicholas Epley’s Mindwise.
PHOTO FROM: opticalvisionresources.com
If this concept hasn’t already manifested in your mind, or has yet to deem itself familiar to you, then allow me to expand until it becomes so.
The lens problem, as Epley calls it, is not necessarily an issue or primarily a beneficial factor to anyone or anything; It is not strictly left or right. The lens problem merely states that two different people could be staring at one thing and see it differently due to the lens through which they are viewing it.
For instance, who won that race? Well, runner 1 had his foot over the line before runner 2, but runner 2 had his arm over the line before runner 1. The only rule specifying the winner is: whoever crosses the line first. If you ask the audience, you will get answers based on endless variables such as the view from which that audience member saw the race from, their bias, if they have one, towards the racers, their definition of crossing the line, etc.
PHOTO FROM: ftw.usatoday.com
This example of the lens problem is a fairly vague and mild one.
We have global predicaments with a drastically wide range on the spectrum of left and right.
Think about things as big as our government, our laws, and our elections. Think about why we vote for the things and people that we do. It is the way we look at things, or rather the lens in which we view them through…
Take a look at the United States’ most recent election. Now, take a look at the voters. There were mothers, young adults, elders, all genders, the nonbinary, all sexualities, a wide range of ages, religions, education levels, and an endless book of life experiences within each vote that was submitted…think about this for a second.
Let’s clear things up by personalizing this example. We’re going to take all we know about apples and all we know about oranges and apply our knowledge, experience, and opinion to vote between the two. Which one is better?
PHOTO FROM: healthcastle.com
This question is extremely vague because everyone has their own reasoning behind what ‘better’ means, but answer it anyway.
Take your personal experiences: which one do you enjoy the smell of more, the taste, texture, cleanliness? Are you allergic to either one?
Take factual evidence: which one has more health benefits, meets more of your personalized needs?
Apply secondhand knowledge and opinion: what discouraging stories/ facts have you heard about each, what do your family and friends think about each?
Do to your personal experiences, personal needs, inner thoughts, and ability to ration based on the influence from the outside world, we all come up with our own likes and dislikes, opinions, choices, and behavioral manner.
Think about how the internet’s gossip, our religions or atheism, our racial backgrounds, our political beliefs, our age, gender, and education affected our votes in the latest U.S presidential election.
I’ll use myself as an example. I am underage, but here’s how I would’ve decided on who to vote for:
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I am a female, first off, and I identify as one and take pride in being one. Hearing a presidential candidate talking about inappropriately groping women without their consent disgusts me as a young woman, and angers me as a feminist. Being black, Mexican, and native American draws me away from a rich white man who allowed a native tribe’s land to be disturbed with the insertion of a pipeline against their will. With my level of education, I determined who had the most promising statements, who seemed the most sincere, who discussed the important global and country-wide issues that needed tending, and who used the most influential propaganda. There was also a means of morals that I looked upon with great interest: who was investing their money into the “right” things, who was serious about the country’s welfare, and who seemed genuinely concerned about education and the preparation of future generations?
These were things my 15-year old mind questioned and judged each candidate with, but a 30-year old white male with a higher-education and a stricter involvement in politics could have an entirely different view of the election based off of his beliefs and experiences.
It’s important to remember how alike we are as people when making important decisions that will affect us all, but we also have to keep in mind that the way in which we view people varies, therefore the decisions we make will vary.
Someone who loves kids will be more likely to support putting money into benefiting their well-being and education over putting the money into construction. Someone who is concerned for everyone’s well-being and the safety levels of the city’s roadways will most likely want to put money into fixing potholes and streetlights as oppose to building a new park in a neighborhood that could desperately use one.
“The problem with a lens is that you look through it rather than at it, and so your own perspective doesn’t seem unique until someone else informs you otherwise…Looking through a lens also means that it is difficult to tell when your own view is being distorted by it.”
The following link is a video of a pastor telling kids that Santa is not real. His actions, as cruel as they seem, are being ‘justified’ by his religious beliefs. Telling kids that Santa is real is “a sin in God’s eyes” and this pastor believes every child, no matter how young, should be aware of the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.
Think about why you always feel like your the correct one in an argument. It’s not necessarily because you are correct, but because you are looking through your own lens distorted by PERSONAL experience, beliefs, knowledge, intentions, and attitudes.
Take the majority of toddlers for example. Much of their enjoyment comes from watching nursery rhymes, superhero movies, listening to fairytales, and uniquely intriguing video games. The content to which they are most exposed to varies dramatically from instances of reality. Their minds are taught to more easily accept works of fiction, and to see the impossible as highly possible. If you were to have an argument about whether or not Santa was real, you would most likely lose because what you view as concrete fact and reason, a toddler may view as stupid and illogical due to the stories they’ve heard, the cartoons and movies they’ve seen, and the presents they personally received from old Saint Nick himself.
The lens problem is anything but a problem unless we allow it to become one. Consider everyone’s individuality before presuming any regrettable action. There are basic human rights and logical means by which we should treat one another and other living things, but then there are things by which you cannot deem as right or wrong. As much as you would like to believe gay is wrong, your religion is the ONLY real one, your opinion is the single opinion with worth, and that your vote was the only logical one, you’re wrong. Because religion is a belief, what someone believes on a spiritual level cannot be fully denied or proven, therefore you cannot categorize it as wrong. The gender preferences in which someone chooses to love may be considered evil or corrupt according to your beliefs, but is acceptable to another’s. What makes YOUR beliefs the right ones?
You are the only reason that your beliefs are right.
We need to keep this in mind more often than not, because the lens problem is and continues to be a big problem.
Any image used in this article is not owned by the author and is not being claimed as so.