The Topic Of Interpretation
Welcome back to the wilderness highway! I started blogging again at the request of friends and acquaintances who believe I have a knack for making them think. While it is true that I hold to certain beliefs, I never want to tell someone they have to believe what I believe. I want to give them a perspective: something to think about. A perspective is defined as:
1. The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
“a perspective drawing”
2. A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
“most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”
Synonyms: outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, POV, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking, interpretation
“her perspective on things had changed”
I ended last weeks blog with a series of questions for you to consider that basically could be summed up as
Why do you believe what you believe and is there evidence to support it?
I then spoke about maybe getting into the topic of interpretation. Did you notice that a synonym of the word “perspective” is the word “interpretation”? I want you to imagine something with me.
Four Perspectives On A Quarter (or alternative title…CLEARLY!)
Imagine four people in a room around a table facing each other, as in the photo below.
Now, imagine I place a quarter on a stationary stand in the center, with “heads” facing the person at position A, so that she only sees this:
“Tails” then would be facing position B so that that person sees only this:
Positions C and D then, would each be left seeing the quarter like this:
For sake of our demonstration, assume that these folks are not familiar with American currency. We tell each one that they are looking at a quarter and ask them to describe it. The woman at position A says, “its round and has the form of a persons head on it”.
The guy at position B agrees to the “round” descriptive, but objects to the “head” descriptive, because CLEARLY it has the form of an eagle which he CLEARLY can see.
Meanwhile, the two people at positions C and D are looking at each other as if the two at positions A and B have lost their minds! CLEARLY, a quarter is not round, and CLEARLY, it has no bird or person’s head on it! And since positions C and D are TWO and are CLEARLY seeing the same thing, CLEARLY the other two are wrong about what a quarter is, and they are RIGHT because there is safety in numbers which is why the MAJORITY should always be trusted to rule!
Now…do you see where I’m going with interpretation and my perspective on perspectives? Let me give you a definition:
Interpretation (or perspective) is relative to position.
We know that there are various PERSPECTIVES when it comes to viewing the quarter and that ALL of the folks above are correct FROM THEIR PARTICULAR POSITIONS! But if each one insists that theirs is the ONLY position, then they would start in-fighting about correctness…and it would be ABSURD to us who are very familiar with the three dimensions of the American quarter…CLEARLY!
When arguing four perspectives, consider a fifth…I certainly have!
While clearly a play on words that is fitting concerning the modern political (and religious) climate in the U.S., this is not the fifth that I was talking about. CLEARLY you misunderstood! (ok, so I confess…you MAY have a case that you did not misunderstand me at all, but…I digress) THE POINT IS, the fifth I was talking about is a fifth person walking into our little quarter scenario above who states,
You are all wrong. A quarter is square, thick, made of wood, has a picture of a bottle of rum on one side, and a picture of the jolly roger on the other!
Now what? The first four people were ALL correct, except that they discredited the others VALID vantage points. But what about this fifth person? Would you agree that his perspective is NOT correct? And if so, if he produced an object fitting that description that said “quarter” on it, would you trade your legitimate quarter with him? I hope not. If you would, contact me, I’ve got some swamp land in Arizona to sell you.
The Perspectives Battle In America Today – But What Is Truth?
The quarter scenario (with many more perspectives I might add) is EXACTLY where we are when it comes to debating politics, what America was founded on, right versus left, the topic of religion verses religion, or religion versus atheism, and many other topics!
Varying groups are claiming their particular “corner on the truth” while discounting other’s “valid perspectives”, and there is a lot of in-fighting. Meanwhile, there are some groups sowing and other groups believing COMPLETE FALSEHOODS that are WAY off base as to what the evidence DOES support.
So what is the TRUTH and can we know it?
Did you know that Pontus Pilate asked a similar question when talking to Jesus at the trial that led to his crucifixion? Yeah. Here is a transcript of the conversation:
Joh 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (38) Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
What is truth? Now THAT is a good topic for next time! Until then, think about the illustration above and the definition of freedom. Is “freedom” really “the ability to do what is right in your own eyes” as many are defining it today, or is that really the definition of “chaos” which will eventually lead us to the place of in-fighting and war with one another? Think I’m reaching? If so, then explain why some have already concluded that violence, destroying property, and harming others is morally justified because those that oppose their viewpoint DESERVE IT!
Wow. Really? Have we really come to the place where we truly believe that those who disagree with our position are HATERS and that it is OK to hurt those haters because HATERS DESERVE IT? If you conclude that, then what’s to say the “other side” hasn’t concluded the same about you? So now what? As I said…think about it. Maybe we really can LOVE somebody while NOT AGREEING with everything they believe. We’ll get into that later too.
Meanwhile, try to consider “the other side’s” position and put yourself in their position before you conclude they’re all just a bunch of idiots…do YOU like it when people do that to you? Yeah, me neither. oh, and watch out for the “square-thick-wooden-quarter guy” too. Rarely are lies ever that blatant, but there are people out there who just want to rob us of what we have that is of real value. Until next time, have a great week, and thanks again for joining me on The Wilderness Highway!