Monday, October 10, 2005

Pondering Perspective


So, this past week I had a few experiences that caused me to wonder about the integrity of people and humans' abilities to comprehend and share truth. One person decided to share with another individual and me a quality that one of my sisters possesses. I know for a fact that the person who was sharing the story has never seen my sister exhibiting this quality. I wondered how this person could share the quality with such an attitude of truth to it without ever having actually experiencing the exhibition of the quality... and I wondered where they had gotten their material to be able to speak about it in such a confident manner (especially around me!).

Later on, the other individual shared a story about another person that was intended to cause some sort of shock reaction out of all of us. However, it only caused me to wonder why this person felt that they could accurately share such a personal experience about someone else to create a point or to cause emotion in someone else. I was pretty bothered by this experience for a while. I think it bugged me mostly because it reeked of gossip, and I just didn't believe what they were telling me. Sure, there were probably parts of it that were true, but I felt that I was getting a distorted perspective of what actually happened. It really bothered me that there were distorted stories that were being passed on about other individuals. I know I wouldn't like it!

Earlier that week I had been to a class. The teacher was recapping a conference (Wahoo for realizing that I CAN make a link!). I had watched/listened to/was dozing off and relaxing during the same conference. The teacher attempted to tell one of the stories that had been told in the conference, only.... it was a different story than the one I had heard. It was the same story, but the details were... wrong. I think that this experience helped me to realize that when someone talks, people are probably hearing completely different things than others. In my life I have repeatedly noticed this to be true, especially in male/female relationships. I'm pretty sure that much of it is based one's own personal history that creates a different perspective than others'. I think that part of it is also due to the different aspects that different people are prone to notice. I'm a pretty detail-oriented person. Sometimes when people are reminiscing, I'll recall what outfit I was wearing at the time or that we had eaten tuna fish that day or something else completely irrelevant to most. Other people will generally remember different aspects of that event.

So... pretty much I've decided that it's okay. It's okay to have different perspectives and to be different. ...even though it causes me heartburn when stories get back to me that are about me and are completely distorted and twisted. It mostly just made me recommit to myself that I shouldn't tell stories about other people. We all have different feelings, different experiences, different personalities, and different times when we presume or jump to conclusions. That's too bad, and isn't that great? My historical presumption is that this is one of the reasons some stories became known as tall tales. Thanks for reading...

11 comments:

tearese said...

I love your perspective pictures...but I have to ponder your entry a little more before I comment on it...though I have had many similar experiences!

Cardine said...

Yes, I was told it was somewhat vague and esoteric. I agree. The photos were supposed to symbolize stuff, but ... I'm probably the only one who gets that. It was hard for me to get across my feelings without feeling like I was whining or gossiping.

tearese said...

I was reading in a psychology book a while back, about how people falsely remember big events. They were discussing not only events recalled through hypnotism, but also things like police asking witnesess about a crime. Basically, most people's memories after a crime are innaccurate, especially if they hear someone else testifying.
People who are hypnotized to remember something, are often given a subtle suggestion to help then along...and the event they remember is very often very inaccurate if not completely false.
They also gave an example of another type of completely false memory. A woman was told by a relative that as a child she had witnessed her mother's death by drowning. She later had a completely detailed memory of finding her in a pool, calling the police, and watching them take the body away. Years later, an aunt told her she had been misinformed and that her cousin had actually discovered the body.
She had completely made up the memory...she later became a psychologist, and studied such things.
Anyway, I think these false stories and rumors you mentioned in your entry are similar. Most of the time, people might not even realize they are spreading falsehoods..maybe the first person you mentioned believed they actually had witnessed something with your sisters behavior, as they had heard it described by someone else convincingly enough. I don't know. But I do think there is a connection between these things.

Cardine said...

Actually, I learned about that in psychology, too. I'm glad you mentioned it because I wanted to stick it in but felt that the entry was already too long. Sometimes I wonder if suggestions cause us to dream about events and later remember them, but they were actually a dream and we forget it was a dream. I think that's happened to me before.

Seven said...

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and realized you missed part of what was going on because your mind wandered? I think this idea illustrates how we all think differently, while one person may be trying to make a specific point, something they mentioned during the conversation triggers a unique memory on our own end, and it is this which I believe causes us to remember different versions of the same story. Our personal experiences and private diatribes often color both our attitude and interpretation of concepts that may be in no obvious way related. It reminds me of the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you track the stories backward, you can find the common ground, maybe not easily..but it's there...
just my 7 cents on the subject.... ;)

tearese said...

So this may be a little off the subject, but Cardine's last comment made my mind wander:) to the subject of dreams.
You were saying how you might remember a dream as a true event. I still vividly remember that happening, and realizing a moment later that there was no way the dream could have been real. The oddness of it, was the subject was so unrelated to reality! In the dream, I could fly, but only if I ran, skipped, and jumped in a certain way, caught an air current at a specific degree, etc.(My flying dreams have always been very logical.) Then I would only remain airborne for a short time before drifting back down.
Anyway, one day in real life I was walking to church (I was pretty young) and this memory came back to me. I had the distinct feeling that the flying event had really happened, and I remember thinking, "That day was really fun, I'll have to try flying again later."
Suddenly, the absurdity of it all hit my, and I stopped walking and had to really think, "Wait, I can't really fly, can I?" And I was actually very dissapointed and confused, it had been that real.
Anyway, like I said, its off the subject...

sarah said...

Great conversation here... I love it. Tearese, as I was reading your last comment about not being able to fly, I had to think really hard about the feeling I have about being able to hover. I must have had dreams about it, because I cannot think of any actual instance in my waking life that I've ever hovered. Weird...

Cardine, yeah... there is way more to gossip than what meets the eye...er... ear. I have discovered that when someone with enough tone or validity or something in their voice says something, then it can become "truth" to the hearer. Like, my boss sometimes will complain or rant about something or other and then later I find myself thinking it's true, too. I'm glad you wrote this particular blog, because it reminds me that perspective and a knowledge of pure truth are both necessary in this world. I'm glad I know where I can go to get it.

the sister said...

But the sister story is true, I do love to eat grilled cheese now that I am expecting. :)

warnser said...

I've had that DREAM!
the same one tearese had.
You run and skip, and then you're airborne. Actually I have it a lot.

Indy said...

I have dreams about being able to fly, and they seem very real. In the dream it seems only natural that I can fly..I just think about it and I can float up in the air. I then wiggle my arms to move about. Those are the best dreams. Of course I did go to neverland as a child with peter, so I can count that as really having the experience of flying.

wendy

Seven said...

A few quotes from Douglas Adams:

"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss. "

I almost wish my aim was that bad...

"You live and learn. At any rate, you live."