a writing by Denis Barter

As I sit here at my computer, wondering about what I might write, my only view of the outside world is by way of a small window. It overlooks the immediate garden and a small snow covered grassed area leading to the fish pond, which in turn, ends at a backdrop of trees. Because of these trees, all distant horizons are obscured. On occasion, find myself somewhat frustrated that my view is so limited, and have seriously considered felling the trees to enlarge my outlook. While thinking about this problem this morning, 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 many similarities found, when comparing Life with the view from a window. For is it not true that, as we might 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 limited horizon? One about which an even greater mental barrier has been erected that supplants the physical barrier we might have? It is this barrier, whether it be physical or mental, that prevents many of us from seeing more of what could easily be seen were we to allow ourselves to go one step further! This barrier is one which, even if we cleaned our “window’s mind” of all accumulated detritus, still determines we shall see only what we think is suitable to be viewed. In fact it is not the smallness of the window that restricts our views of broader and more distant horizons but our reluctance 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 are restricted and restrained by our dogmatic attitudes towards others? Either because of our own ignorance or the inflexible arbitrary positions we take? These are especially true when they appertain to racism, bigotry, religion and all others outside of our own, related dogmas. All religions I fear, are seen by most of us as being far too intractable in their attitude towards all other Faiths. Many of us speak platitudes as to how we should treat our fellow man, but few pay little more than lip service to rectifying the perceived problems.

Ignorance of other life styles is generally nothing more than our 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. 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 our personal insecurity, combined with the ridiculous fear of the unknown, and little more that prevents our seeing further or widening our horizon!

Secondly, for many of us even should we allow our eyes to 'pass through' that restrictive window, even more limitations are quickly found to be in place. Unlike the barriers such as trees, houses, bushes or whatsoever that obscures the physical view from my computer room, these, I feel, are 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. Only when this is acknowledged and steps taken to meet the world with compassion and understanding, will it then 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 need to be felled!

While the window in my computer room is easily and quickly enlarged by the simple expedient of cutting a larger hole in the wall and installing a larger frame and glass, it is not always a simple matter to widen our horizons nor to remove prejudices from the mind. Firstly we have to remove the blinkers from our eyes and allow our mind to ‘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 and resolve on our individual part, to widen our constrictive, narrow minded concepts. But it is not impossible. It can be done. Once we accept this requires a more open minded approach, the restrictive ‘apertures’ through which we observe and take note of the other world, one all too many often refuse to admit, will be opened up and widened and this in turn, 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 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.

But in my opinion, never has it 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 other 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 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 try to change my attitudes. Can only hope that the following generations are not so hide bound in tradition and bigotry as mine was? That they can see, the path that should be taken and start walking down that path.

Enough of my observations and philosophy for today.

Rhymer. January 11th, 2015

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