When Margaret Atwood, a renowned Canadian poet, coined the phrase “reality simply consists of different points of view,” she had perfectly worded a deep philosophical conundrum: perspective.
The term “perspective” can only be defined as a labyrinth of precisely and meticulously crafted layers shaped by our situation, experiences, and goals, forming a foundation towards our conscience to classify something as “right” or “wrong.”
In a more relatable context, imagine a discussion between a parent and their teenager over curfew. Setting an early curfew allows a parent to fulfil their responsibility to have their child safely in the folds of their home as early as possible. But the teen will prioritise spending quality time making memories with their peers during the last few years of youth, and they will, understandably, advocate for a later curfew.
Another example are the goals of a businessman and his customer. The customer will always look for a better deal—a large quantity of quality products for a cheap price. The businessman, however, will look towards a higher profit margin and sell less of his products for a greater price. It is important to understand here that both parties want to keep their bank accounts happy at the end of the day.
Perhaps a more morbid example is on the streets. An expired loaf of bread on the side of the road, maybe labelled “rubbish” by a millionaire driving past in his Porsche. But to a pauper who has gone to bed with an empty stomach for the past week, it may be the difference between life and death. Again, it is the same loaf of bread. But two people look at it from two ends of a vast spectrum, creating two vastly different perspectives.
It is worth noting that, in each of these cases, each individual tries to become the beneficiary of the situation, satisfying that small percentage of selfishness in each of us, no matter how much we attempt to deny it.
Tying it all together, the word “perspective” takes on a more significant meaning. It shapes the decisions, agreements, and disagreements made in our world, from the education system and politics to the business markets and finance. What this is teaching us is that the world needs to be viewed through a spherical snow globe, with all points of view recognised. Therefore, it is unfair to compare white against black, hot against cold, and right against wrong. It boils down to what you are trying to get out of the situation and how different the other person’s goals are. Because even though we are all born with the same pair of eyes, the lens we each look through paints the world in different colours.