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My Perspective, Your Perspective

"None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning to. The world you see is different from the one I see, and it's impossible to share your world with anyone else."

-The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga



This concept, once I really understood it has really fundamentally changed the way I see everything. Here is a Buddhist parable thought to have originated in India around 500 BCE that provides a lot of clarity for me around this understanding of the world.


A group of blind men came across an elephant and each touched a part of it (the husk, the side, the tail, etc) in order to envision the elephant. Each man describes what the elephant is based only on the part of the elephant he is touching. The man touching the elephant's side says the elephant is like a great wall. Another touching the tail says the elephant is like a snake. Yet another, touching the tusk says the elephant is like a spear. The men begin arguing with each other, asserting that he is right and the others are lying.



This very old parable shows how humans have a habit of thinking that their limited and subjective experience is the absolute truth and they ignore other people's limited and subjective experiences. It also conveys that we are all blind men. We are limited to our own subjective experience of everything based within the space and time we are in the present moment.


Humans have a habit of thinking that their limited and subjective experience is the absolute truth and they ignore other people's limited and subjective experiences.

There is no escape from your own subjectivity. With greater awareness though, you can at least acknowledge your own subjectivity and the subjectivity of others and become less attached to it.




I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please share below in the comments!


xo-Erika

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