Post number 29 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

A set of nested lenses, perspectives come in all shapes and sizes. They are subsets of subsets of subsets, tints of tints of tints. They are necessary individual, necessarily grouped, necessarily in some senses universal. Perspectives are what allow us to make sense of things. They describe a basis for perceptions, a map of preconceptual ideas and concepts which enable one to understand at all. Our perspective defines our reality, and that is doubly true for Jedi: The Force, after all, can be most meaningfully described as a perspectival concept, that all is in reality, one.

Jedi need to understand perspective in a number of ways. Firstly, we must understand our own perspective. Think of it like the fish who does not know he is in water. He goes his whole life without breaking the surface, and doesn’t understand that there are other ways of seeing the world. The fish misses a lot! The birds, the sky, the fisherman on the river bank. Without an awareness of the limitations, biases and other inherent traits of our own perspective, we are lost within a vortex of experience with no compass. If we know our compass points us “North”, we can begin to define South – and, with work, we can extrapolate East and West, too.

Secondly, we need to understand the perspective of others. For our “North” may not be everyone’s North, just as our fish in the pond may encounter a bigger fish. Is the bigger fish friendly, or a predator? Is the viewpoint of the “Other” likely to help or harm us? Jedi are engaged in the process of compassionate awareness, of empathetic service. It’s hard to adequately provide for the needs of others if you do not understand, in some limited way, the experience, desires, feelings, perspective of others. A great message on this understanding of the difference of perspective for others is the African proverb of the Monkey, who decides to save the fish from drowning by taking him up a tree. What is medicine for one is poison for another – without an understanding of perspective, Jedi would therefore stand to do significant harm to others, even with the best intentions.

Thirdly, we need to be able to adjust our focus and change our perspective in certain situations. Limited awareness, limited focus, or perhaps too narrow a focus (or too wide) can impact our ability to understand and deal with a situation. There’s little sense in gently chipping away at a boulder with a rock hammer when what we need is a pneumatic drill, and vice versa on the delicate fossil. Our focus, our ability to act appropriately depends entirely on our ability to adjust our perspective to the relevant state. This isn’t always easy! Sometimes we under or overestimate things, going too far in some directions, not far enough in others. The best state of mind is one of openness – that is, ready to change our focus, to understand things another way and to allow our perspective to change. Who hasn’t experienced those moments of “Oh!” when we suddenly come to new understanding, a paradigm shift in our thinking? Those tend to be some of the most powerful moments in our lives; all of them hinge on a non-rigid, mobile perspective, capable of expansion or contraction, where relevant.

Finally, we must also accept that all perspectives are but facets of the one overarching viewpoint: that of the true nature of reality, the underlying perspective behind all things. The Force is all that is. The understanding we have of different scenes and scenarios within that wider tableau should not deprive us of the “universal perspective” – that is, all that is, is in flux. All that is, changes. All that comes, goes, and all that goes, returns. All that is here now, was here before, or will come after, is one thing, one “happening”. This is the underlying “perspective” we must work to adopt, behind whatever situational perspective is most relevant in our daily lives.

Perspective is essential because we must understand that it is an inherent quality of all things that can be perceived, that someone is therefore perceiving them. All “someones” have perspectives; preconceived ideals, concepts and notions which colour everything they encounter, like a red lens in front of a camera. To be perceived perspectivally is an inherent quality of everything, including that understanding! So to understand anything, we must know something about perspective. For Jedi, we must understand that our perspective is coloured by our knowledge of the Force. Perhaps this makes us more patient, less attached. In reality I’ve often found the opposite to be true! Perhaps, aware as we are of the perspectival nature of things, we “lean back” into the old ways more?

I’m not sure. And that allows for my perspective to grow, as my understanding does.