Perspective Blindness is the wearing of a blindfold when you make assumptions of others, their situations, their lives. We as human beings have the unfortunate propensity to be influenced by what others are saying; what “they” believe and of “their” opinions. Yet they too, are all to often, victims of their own perspective blindness. The result is a troubling loop of biased opinions and a case of — the blind leading the blind!
Perspective: as in, the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: “You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.”
Blindness: as in unwilling or unable to perceive or understand: “They were blind to their children’s faults. He was blind to all arguments.”
On occasion, I too fall prey to perspective blindness. Especially when it comes to perceiving situations in different countries as to mine. Most notably the United states in comparison. As a working member of the blogosphere, social media has me conversing with Americans almost daily and I find we are basically the same people with similar values, ethics and worries.
So much so — that at times I forget that we are living in totally different countries. Politically our systems are much different. Our Laws, our health-care and social concerns and situations — different. And thus, this unprecedented situation we now find ourselves in caused by the virus pandemic, is by cause and effect, different in each of our countries.
Here In Canada, the virus situation and the self-isolating of the public is perhaps socially and economically less straining than in the U.S. Here at home, the federal Government has made available emergency pandemic monies on a wide scale in lieu of the social lock-down. Money is available for any and all businesses, big, small, independent even charitable or non-profit that are effected financially by the call for isolation.
Along with this, the Government is willing to pay up to 70% of their employee’s wages (with some stipulations) in an attempt to keep lay-offs down and people working. Those who do get laid off or find their hours reduced, the Govt. has made available top-off funding that will at least enable them to purchase groceries and pay the rent on a ongoing monthly basis. There is more, with each day more available monies to the public are made available as they try and fill the gaps in providing funds to anybody in need at this time.
So, nobody here is protesting the lock-down. Financially (at least so far) the public is monetarily appeased to listen to our health-scientists daily updates and ongoing recommendations without any major backlash. They are saying here, the flattening of the curve is happening and a downturn looks promising.
Yet they advise a lifting of the current isolation ban will begin only after our pandemic experts deem it safe to do so and will be implemented in slow careful stages. The return to normalcy, will be a slow carefully monitored process, perhaps taking weeks, months even longer to complete.
And with financial assistance coming in — most Canadians are not in disagreement.
In the States, things are different. Protests by large gatherings are breaking out in major cities. People are worried about going broke and not having enough to pay for groceries or the needed funds to take care of their families. Job loss and the sudden economic downturn have the public there wondering if not only the call for isolation is needed, but if (as Donald Trump has been quoted saying) the cure is worse than the disease!
There are even those propagandizing, that the Government is taking advantage of the situation simply for political gain and are violating there civic rights?
They are calling for the immediate suspension of isolation and a return to normalcy. Their theory is, let the virus spread and the chips fall where they may. Some have even been quoted as saying that “Its mostly the old who are most dangerously effected and they have one foot in the grave already anyways.”
From a Canadian perspective, this comes across as being egotistically uncaring, self-centered even inhumane. But is it really? — Or Is this perhaps, just a case of perspective blindness?
After all, the situation is different down there. Yes their government has allocated funds for business, but what about the common citizen? Are they receiving the same monetary attention as we Canadians are? Is there more cause for their financial concerns in lieu of the pandemic restrictions then we have here in Canada? Is not the situation more dire in their eyes?
When their money eventually runs out, and a do or die situation becomes reality what then? What will happen when large sections of their population become jobless, hungry and unable to pay their rent. Will desperation lead to nonconformity, anarchy, perhaps even rioting and sectional societal breakdown. Wouldn’t the same, under the same circumstances, happen here?
PERSPECTIVE BLINDNESS IS GLOBAL
Not only does our perspective blindness effect the way we see the U.S. but most other countries as well. Like China, where this pandemic theoretically originated in. How many of us hold the Chinese people accountable for this outbreak? Their different lifestyle, odd tastes for exotic animals, wet markets and such. They’re the ones responsible for all these virus deaths many say!
But the people there are living in a much different situation then we are. They are under communist rule. Their government controls and oversees every aspect of their lives. It’s their controlling strict-ruled government who lied initially about there even being a pandemic risk. Not the people! When researchers and Doctors began to know differently, it was the communist Government that forbid them to publicly decree a warning. Going as far as making them sign disclaimers of falsehoods and threatening their noncompliance.
Yet many now today, look upon the Chinese people themselves as the ones to blame?
If we can, for just a moment, be totally honest with ourselves, perhaps a lot of which we’ve come to believe, have made conclusions on and have formed opinions about in other people, is a direct result of our own perspective blindness. Not just in other countries, but of our own countrymen, our neighbors, our political and religious rivals. People of different color, culture and race.
Are we truly claiming to know “their kind” because of our vast associations and multiple real-life experiences with them? Or are we, in all sense and purposes, perspectively blinded by the opinions of others? By “Their” opinions, “Their’ biased rhetoric and “Their” proposed assumptions.
Its no breaking news that we are easily influenced by the words of others. In essence, we choose what we believe from the plethora of opinions that we have been bombarded with ever since childhood. From our cultural upbringing, from our family, our peers, our social media.
It’s hard not to be influenced by these opinions because inherently, we all want to fit in. The desire to belong and not make waves is a powerful influence in itself in choosing what we believe…
Or perhaps more accurately — what we should believe?
Fighting through and recognizing perspective blindness is not easy. Holding your own opinion in an opposing-view community takes courage. Going with the flow is much easier, yet our assimilation to others’ beliefs and opinions are in a big way, systematically what’s wrong with society today.
Commercialism, political and corporate propaganda, fake news and social media conspiracies all take advantage of our propensity to be easily influenced. And the reason they exist — is because they work!
At times, perspective blindness occurs in all of us. In essence, it’s a subconscious blindfold we wear when making assumptions about others. It can be innocently unintended as in not grasping the whole situation, or it can be a learned and hateful hard-core belief of racism born from the opinions of others.
Ill-gotten or not, we all have our own beliefs, our own opinions, our own perspectives on most everything. — Including those we have of others.
Perhaps learning to remove our blindfolds first, before adopting opinions of others as our own, will lead to a better understanding of the world around us.
And to the billions of other Human Beings that coexist with us on this planet we call Earth.
Before you sit in Judgement of others “Walk a Mile in their shoes!” — author unknown