Monday, September 1, 2014

Distortion

One of my colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Gaylen Paulson, introduced me to an idea that has challenged and altered the way I think about the world.

GP notes that many of us use eye glasses and/or contact lenses daily to “distort” our vision.  He says that we use these devices to cause us to see stuff as we assume it should look, rather than the way it appears to us without the assistance of those devices.  In effect, we choose lenses that will cause our world to appear as we believe it should look.  We have deliberately distorted our vision, based on some assumptions.

GP then goes on to assert that we often do the same thing with regard to our worldview.  We view the world, its problems, it challenges, its politics, its religions through lenses of our own choosing.  These lenses through which we then view the world, and the complexities of its organizational/social interplay, distort our vision.  In effect, we make the world fit the assumptions and preconceptions we already have about it.  What we do is view the world through explanatory/definitive lenses that make that world appear as we believe it should look.

Thus, we should consider the possibility that we deceive (or worse, limit) ourselves…

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