Sociologists have studied the way you and I look at life for some time. One of the theories that emerged as a way of explaining the changing viewpoints is spiral dynamics. The theory suggests that there is an evolutionary process underway in the way we look at life. This is not about what we see but how we see it. It is a way of describing the lens and filter that we use day to day. Experience, time, and values are contributing factors, but there is more.
As I travel across multiple cultures, I am struck by how much individuals of different backgrounds and experiences have in common. We are more alike than different – regardless of where we grew up, the places life has taken us to, or the outcomes we now live with. We struggle with similar issues. We celebrate similar victories and events.
Spiral reminds me that although we look and value similar things, the way we see our lives is often quite different. Experience suggests that we are constantly changing our viewpoint. In short, the way we look at life evolves.
As the dialogue continues I find myself trying to hold onto two reminders.
Viewpoints are, in themselves, cannot be classified as right or wrong. They are a way of seeing them. In contrast, one can judge outcomes and conclusions. Twisted thinking comes a view that gives birth to bad outcomes. Unless one understands the first, the latter is unlikely to change.
We share much in common yet the way we see and understand what we share is different. Reality suggests this difference has always been here. Old writings captured the point; “The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense.” (1 Corinthians 1.18) Accepting the difference and acting with this knowledge opens up the possibility for understanding.
Listening with this knowledge has opened the possibility of an enriched dialogue of awareness and understanding. Having experienced, I am looking forward to more.