I ponder how humans view the world and why each has a different perspective. We all have well-intentioned folks who politically lean left, right, or center, tending to see very little the same way. I concluded that we each use a kaleidoscope. When we think we are looking far afield, we may just be peering through a small hole, turning the cylinder until the view makes sense or seems attractive.
A kaleidoscope is a viewing tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns visible through an eyehole when the tube is rotated. One peers through a small hole, and as one rotates the cylinder, the motion of the materials causes the pattern to change constantly. Most people turn it until they see something they like, then hold it there. Some of us may view life in the same manner.
When looking at the broader world around us, we commonly adjust our view to the one that most closely agrees with what we think we have seen, heard, or experienced with our senses. It is sometimes challenging that even our eyes and ears can deceive us. How many have had an accident and said, “I could have sworn there wasn’t a car there a moment ago.”
Everything one “sees” is through their own personal kaleidoscope. Whatever your wife, husband, friend, or lawyer tells you is a fact through their lens. Some of us who have been married for a few decades have learned the hard way that the spouse’s lens is always the correct view!
The shared viewpoint of most human beings on earth does have a commonality in all cultures, races, and groups. We all want our families, neighbors, friends, and others to have proper shelter, nourishment, clothing, love, companionship, safety and hope for the future.
My observation of this comes not from my armchair but from personal “boots on the ground.” I have associated and/or lived with ordinary folks from foreign countries, including South Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, China, Cambodia, Mexico, and California. Yes, to an Oklahoma farm boy who grew up in the 1950s, California was a “foreign country.”
The problem with a kaleidoscope-type view is that it doesn’t distinguish between good, evil, right, wrong, or even ever-present shades of gray. It is just pretty colors, all bright and nice to look at. It involves no further evaluation of what one is observing. Once someone has their pretty answer, they may no longer look to see what’s beyond that scene.
The real evil is not the Oriental shop owner, the Mexican waiter, or the California surfer dude. Evil is not the liberal living next door or the conservative in line at an event. Real evil exists, and very evil people do, too. They plan to keep you looking through the kaleidoscope at your pat answer and not at them or their actions. They cannot start wars, sell dangerous drugs, traffic in human beings, or cause acts of terror if we hate an entire group instead of the singular evil individual or leader – that person behind the scenes pulling puppet strings.
A nation of people is not the enemy. A religion’s parishioners are not the enemy. A race of people is not the enemy. The actual enemies are few. They depend on not being seen, hiding behind those who act for them. They want your hate and bigotry.
Furthermore, they count on it. They are not easily identified because they have the power, money, and influence to remain behind the scenes. They are there. I know it, and you do, too.