Today, Facebook and Katrina have given me a valuable lesson. The context of the lesson comes from Facebook, but the value comes from Katrina.
Apologies in advance that none of my cool graphics will show here today. The uploader clearly is taking Sunday as a day of rest for some reason.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary on “Perspective” tells us it is “the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed”, or “ the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” There are also definitions relating to how the eye ‘sees’ things in terms of parallel lines. My architect dad talked about perspective to my genius artist sister all the time back in her early years. He would describe how to draw railroad tracks as they move away from you towards the distant horizon, or a focal point of an enclosed room.
I prefer a mix of the mental and physical spacial concept – something like “the appearance to the mind of objects and ideas in respect to their relative distance and positions.”
I used to tell my writing students that they had to learn the rules first before they could learn to break them. I never knew Pablo Picasso was credited with that concept until today. I just broke a rule, and in doing so made a new rule – Cynthia’s perspective on perspective.
This is why Facebook and Katrina taught me something today.
In the days when I taught teens (Katrina was one for a very short time), I should have gone with my gut rather than the inside of the box. Sorry Katrina and all you others. There were so many cool things I wanted those chowder-head teenagers to see and experience, but because those things didn’t fit squarely in our contextual box of the day, I kept this whole secret intellectual and spiritual life to my self.
Now I live on the outside as I live on the inside, and it is the responses from others, often spontaneous, that tell me other people are getting the same jazz out of it that I am. Katrina loves this perspective as do I, so “we” share it here:
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
~The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho.
I suppose you all can guess that I am putting my glass down….
…and all of that to say thanks Facebook for putting up an Alchemist story, and Katrina for seeing the jazz in it that makes me realize how much more important the perspective is than the weight of the glass.