Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Difference Between - PART TWO (illustrated)

Photoshop lets me illustrate myself. Take a photograph -- a digital representation of a reality that (because we've been trained and become adept at reading 2-dimensional images and seeing the 3-dimensional reality they imply) "looks real."

What happens when I look at this flower through a colored lens? What happens when my own perspective (world-view) asserts itself on reality?

Wearing 30% opaque lenses, the flower is partially transformed. Compromised in its clarity. And we all know from our psychology classes and sociology classes that we each wear these glasses and do see through a glass dimly. Even Paul stated that in one of his letters to the Corinthian church which must have been filled with people wearing all different colored lenses.

Maybe that's one of the reasons that a community made up of people with similar lenses through which they see the world is "easier" because there is less conflict -- but also more dangerous because they start to think that what they see is the truth.

Then there are the contrarians among us -- the ones who force us to defend and clarify by stating such dramatic difference that we can't write it off to a variation of reality. The are not looking through a colored lens; they are redefining the norm as other.

And if you like blue, this is just as beautiful -- but it is not true, is it? I think the contrarian can be frustrating or even dangerous -- but I also think she can be valuable in a world where everyone is rutted in their own distortions. This person can offend with dogmatic otherness or she can expand us with "what if" and "could it be that."

Modern artist, often accused of painting non-reality often defended themselves by saying that they were painting a deeper or greater reality than what showed on the surface. One person applying "right and wrong" while another applies "chocolate and vanilla."

For the sake of peace in the land, some would identify the issue to be that of color -- that we can't be sure that what I see as red is the same as what you see as read and with culturally tinted lenses we're all doomed to eternal conflict. The answer is to remove the color. Clarify by simplifying.

Now, by removing the conflict cause by the complexity of color (and color is very complex in some ways), we have reduced the discussion to a more manageable one -- flower or cow or rainbow or toe and we all agree: FLOWER.

But there will be those who, undone by degrees of difference that express themselves in the subtle shades of grey, require polarization: either/or is the only way to see and be.

I may find little or now beauty or mystery or life in this, but I'm certain of what is black and what is white and I can easily align myself on a side.

Those who insist that EVERYTHING must be seen and judged this way (because some things are and must be) force those who know that tones and hues exist to rebut by declaring that NOTHING is so simple as this.

Peace makers look for compromise. They might be wooed by simplified color with clear lines of difference and less choices.

But this, too, is distortion. Legalism. When I was immature, I needed rules to simplify my choosing. As I grow in wisdom, I am more able to see subtleties and shades. I am more able to choose among a multitude of choices.

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