As I sit here at my computer, wondering which topic I would select, on which to write an essay, my only view of the outside world is by way of a small, south facing window, which overlooks a small immediate flower bed, and the grassed area leading to the fish pond, which in turn, prevents all further views with its dense backdrop of cedar trees. Because of these cedars, the distant horizons are obscured. On occasion, I find myself somewhat frustrated that my view towards that distant horizon is limited, and there have been times I’ve seriously considered felling those mature trees to expand my outlook. It was whilst I was thinking about this problem this morning, that I was given to compare this restricted view of mine, with the way I, and many others sometimes look at Life?
Firstly, one has to be struck by the many similarities found, when comparing Life with the view from a window. For is it not true that, as we look out on the world through our own small window, although there is much we could see if we were determined so to do? There is often found, strictly of our own making, a restriction on our horizon, that limits what we see? This restriction is often a mental barrier which we subconsciously erect. Built and reinforced by bias and prejudice it often becomes, unsurmountable unless we realise it is there, because we built it, and take positive steps to remove same! Our formidable mental barrier, can be far more restrictive than any physical barrier, that might be found restricting our immediate view!
Any barrier, whether physical or mental, prevents many of us from seeing more of the world, its peoples and their customs, without bias. Once we remove the barrier, however, it would allow us to broaden our horizons, or at the very least, ‘step around’ its perceived restrictions! In turn this would allow us to ‘see’ a wider and clearer picture, and we would understand why there are differences. Furthermore, were we to clean both our window, and our “mind’s window” of all accumulated detritus, which determines how much, and what we can see, rather than only what we think is suitable to be viewed, it would definitely improve and diversify our lives. In fact it is not the smallness of the window that restricts our view of broader and more distant horizons, but our reluctance to look over or through the barrier, which would enable us to see beyond the immediate view.
To me it seems that the ‘view’ we permit ourselves to see, can and often does, closely mirror our lives. Is it not true that far too many of us allow restrictive restraint by our biassed, dogmatic attitude towards others, to limit our views and understanding of matters, we do not understand? Perhaps little more than a defence mechanism, which automatically drops into place, despite our intention, to accept others, as we would hope they’d accept us! Either because of our own ignorance or the inflexible arbitrary positions we take, we find ourselves in a rut that defies our intention to emerge? This is especially true when it appertains to racism, bigotry, religion and, more’s the pity, towards those who suffer a physical handicap!
Those folks met outside of our comfort area - be it dogma, religion, physical difference or others - are I fear, seen by most of us as being ‘different’ so we immediately set them apart as ‘not of our ilk!’ and we judge them accordingly, as suspicious! Many of us speak platitudes as to how we should treat our fellow man, but few are seen to pay more than lip service, in a bid to rectifying perceived problems. Ignorance of other life styles is generally nothing more than a blank refusal to leave the security of the cosy niche we have created for ourselves. I speak not of physical nor mental disability, for truly I feel these are never barriers to ‘seeing’ the wider horizon, but the inbuilt bias that is, so often handed down from older family members. Actually find that many with a simplistic approach to Life and living, can see far more clearly than we of the so-called educated sects. Far too often it is a sign of personal insecurity, combined with the ridiculous fear of the unknown, and little more, that prevents our seeing further or widening our horizon!
For many of us even if we allow our eyes to 'see beyond' our restrictive window, yet more limitations often replace them. Unlike the physical barriers such as trees, houses, bushes or whatsoever obscures our view, such as that from my computer room, they are I feel, of far greater concern. I speak here of the barriers erected and constantly maintained and reinforced by ourselves, when we allow prejudicial preconceived ideas to rule our lives. Honestly believe that it is only by circumventing or tearing down such barriers that we can, and will ever see the unlimited view of the horizon, that stretches before us, into infinity. It is only when we acknowledge our limitations, then take steps to meet the world with compassion and understanding, will it be possible to see the incredible opportunities the world offers everyone of us. These translucent, although seemingly opaque ‘barriers’, are akin to the 'trees' that I feel I should fell.
However, whilst the window in my computer room is easily and quickly enlarged by the simple expedient of cutting a larger hole in the wall, then installing a larger frame and glass, it will not allow me to enjoy a more distant view. Furthermore it is no simple matter to widen our horizons, nor to remove prejudices from our mind. Firstly we have to acknowledge, then remove the blinkers from our eyes, before we ‘see’ what there is to be seen! Although it should require no more than determined resolve to seize the opportune moment, and cultivate the insight that comes hand in hand with understanding, that we might 'pass through' or circumvent the obstruction which restricts our view, it takes determined dedication, along with firm resolve on our part, to widen our constricted horizon, which in turn, will broaden our narrow minded concepts of others. It is by no means impossible, and it can be done, once we accept it requires an open minded approach. The restrictive ‘apertures’ through which we observe, and take note of the “other” world - one which all too many, refuse to admit exists, will be opened up and widened and this will allow us to see and accept a better understanding of Life and all the world has to offer us?
Surely with a little effort, we can sharpen our oft neglected peripheral vision and bring it to focus upon small but important details which we so often ignore? If this simple procedure were implemented, who knows what we might see and what rewards we - both as individuals and together as a Nation - might reap? It would be a first step towards understanding our neighbours and solving some of the world’s more pressing problems! And yes, of course, it has to apply equally to all who enjoy the benefits of any country.
In my opinion, never has the need to banish bias, been more important than now. It is a time when all of the world’s citizens, should be prepared to accept the differences in culture and life styles, as practised by some Nations, and show tolerance towards those who we regard as different. Is this not the mandate of UNO? Should be I feel.
As I see it, unless every one of us , of every colour and creed, from all walks of life, becomes more open minded and more tolerant - and this must apply to all Nations, not only the Western World - then mankind is in my opinion, doomed! And Armageddon will be only a matter of when and not if! Who knows? We may already have left it too late?
Yes, my window allows me a small restricted view of the outside world, and perhaps I feel I am too old to change my ways, but in my own small way, I do try to change my attitudes. Can only hope that the following generations are not so hide bound in tradition, and bigotry as mine was perceived to be! It is to be hoped they can see, the path that should be taken, and start walking down it, that path today.
Enough of my observations and philosophy for today.
Rhymer. March 31st, 2014