Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Pliant Perspective re: My Posting About Frozen Perspective

I just made some tweaks to the previous entry about frozen perspective. One downside (?) of a pliant perspective is never seeing anything you've ever worked on as complete!


Display Name said...

Jim some of us do better than others with the whole lack of completion perspective. Ever read Gifts Differing? Great posts by the way. Was feeling kind of blah, one of my teeth is loose and it's affecting my whole chowhound personality. You cheered me up!

Jim Leff said...

Never read it. Was into The Enneagram (another personality types system) for a while. But I reject the underlying presumption of that absolutely every person fits cleanly in one box or another.

What underlies personality is certainly one's habitual focus of perspective, no doubt. But most people (at least people not trapped in simple certainty) are not so simple as to have one single static mode. We flit between several, depending on various factors. Really, any perspective is omni-aviailable for any of us to enjoy (yay) or get frozen in (boo).

It's not that one's tendencies inform one's choices. It's the other way around. Arbitrary choices of perspective are made, early-on. Then, because we forget that we have a choice, they congeal into self-reinforcing tendencies.

Here's an example of how that happens:

Display Name said...

One of my all time favorites on your slog. The author never claims we have one single static mode. In fact any perspective omni-available is her ideal.
I was in graduate school minding my own business when one of the profs had us take the myers-briggs for fun. I took way longer on the questions than anyone else and after class I asked to borrow her book. Transformed my life. I can send you a copy. :)

Jim Leff said...

This is a meta-meta point, but given that I already have an expanded perspective about expanding perspective in order to recognize omni-availability of perspective perspective (perspective isn't one package, like a camera, but, instead, several independent, sliding parts), it would actually require a narrowing of perspective to learn how someone else has conceived this. Which isn't necessarily bad; I spend lots of time deliberately narrowing my perspective (e.g. art appreciation, which is the investigation of a foreign, narrowed perspective, akin to spelunking). But I'd imagine the point of her book is expansion, rather than contraction, so I'm not sure what I'd get from it, I'd sort of be doing the opposite of what she and I are urging....if that makes any sense.

One experience that taught me about this was my niece, who, at age 11, began vocal frying and generally adapting a very flamboyant personality. It came suddenly. I tried to gently poke fun about it, but it was clear she didn't realize she'd made this change - or, more accurately, she'd committed to the new behavior so utterly that she'd lost all perspective and was lost in the pretending.

At first, I was worried. Maybe she'd had a psychic break of some sort. But then I realized...this is what we all do. We choose and congeal (if I were to write a book on this, that'd be the title: "Choose and Congeal"). And the choice is stupefyingly arbitrary and casual; like choosing a character for a role-playing game (it's really "Shrug and Choose and Congeal"). She probably saw someone acting like this on a TV show, and had made no conscious decision to adapt this persona, nor was she so dazzled that her admiration and imagination were captivated - i.e. not hero emulation - but she started casually pretending and it stuck. And, to this day (age 30), that's who she is. Sometimes you can spot in her eyes that she knows (in an area she can't consciously access) that she's playing a role. But no more so than anyone else. Everyone knows (in that same inaccessible place) they're pretending, and if you have some sensitivity to recognize it, they're all winking from that place just a little bit.

Personality, of course, is just a layer of perspective. Perspective is everything about life on earth. Perspective is not just what the psychologists are talking about (in terms of superficial presentation); it's also what the gurus are talking about (in terms of deeper "realizations").

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