Perspective and Creation

Everything we do has consequences. Some are more noticeable than others, and many are expected: cleaning off the table usually results in a clean table. Inaction is an action with consequences as well, which can often be predicted without any extraordinary psychic talent. Certainly not all consequences are predictable, and many go unnoticed.

We generally choose our actions (or inactions) based on expected outcomes. Our chosen perspective determines what we consider to be valuable; these are the criteria we use to make decisions.

From the perspective of the investor, the growth of companies is valuable. So it is encouraged, and companies expected to grow are supported.

From the perspective of the employee, the favor of the employer is valuable. So risk is avoided and a great deal of effort is made to set in place processes which are predictable and repeatable, to consistently meet the employer’s goals.

From the perspective of the CEO, keeping investors’ support is valuable, as is reducing company expenses and increasing revenues. So resources are secured for the lowest price possible and goods and services are sold at the highest price the market will allow, and goals and standards are set to attempt to create perpetual growth for the company.

From the perspective of the marketer, convincing customers to buy is valuable. So psychology is used to convince customers to make purchases.

From the perspective of the elected official, voter awareness is valuable. So large amounts of money are spent on advertising campaigns.

From the perspective of the parent, the child’s health and well-being is valuable. So restrictions are set in place to keep the child from, for instance, playing in the street.

From the perspective of the child, learning and growth are valuable. So boundaries and limits of the child’s capabilities are constantly expanded and tested.

None of these perspectives or these choices are wrong. “Right” and “wrong” are products of perspective anyway. From the perspective of the voter, it could be called “wrong” when the elected official considers the interests of those with the money to fund an election campaign to be the most important. And other examples can be made for other situations. Suffering arises when the motivations of these perspectives are in conflict.

But the values of the perspectives above are ultimately the same: they all value survival. What differs is their definition of self, that which is to be preserved. “Survival of the fittest” has been adopted by many as a guiding principle, a mantra and a rubric for making decisions. Interpreted this way, it has some interesting implications: that there is not enough for all to survive, and that competition is “right.” That is to say, the best (required) course of action is to become more fit, perhaps even while causing others to become less fit, in order to survive.

The next step in human evolution1 is the death of perspectives. It is the epiphany that there is something more important than survival. Or, from a different point of view, that the Self is much bigger than previously thought, that we are all One.

It is the death of perspectives, and the birth of Perspective.

In practical terms this means making decisions based on some other criteria than the survival and benefit of the “self.” This does not imply self-neglect; since we are all One, denial of self is detrimental to all. “Survival of the fittest” is in this way understood to be something that happens anyway, merely a description of a process, and counterproductive if used to guide decisions. We are all creating, every day. Every choice is creative. Consider the decision of what to buy at a grocery store: more of what is chosen will be created, because it was chosen. And what remains unchosen soon disappears from the shelves.

Survival is an illusion,2 and we don’t take money with us when we leave.

So rather than merely choosing an audience or a business model, or deciding what to create based solely on what is expected to reach the most people, we should always consider the question of what is worth creating. Setting aside survival and financial gain, what is the desired impact on the world (all of us)? What should the world and our lives be like, and what can we choose which will lead us closer to that? There is nothing else worth creating. There is nothing else worth choosing.

  1. Call it spiritual evolution, if you like.
  2. We all die or we all live forever (or both), depending on your point of view.

3 thoughts on “Perspective and Creation”

  1. Elias,

    This is either insight or depression because the “self” you talk about appears only to exist with the world as it is defined, i.e. survival and/or success with no gradation of quality. Value seems to be selfish and not shared. And worth looks only to be self generated rather than having intrinsic significances.

    “From the perspective of the parent, the child’s health and well-being is valuable. So restrictions are set in place to keep the child from, for instance, playing in the street.” How can you say this is not a judgment of what is “right” or “wrong” when it is self-evidently right to provide boundaries.

    Interpersonal exchanges are of themselves loaded with all kinds of qualities both good and bad.

    If one were a Muslim, I think ones world would be quite well defined and not subject to enormous latitude of thought as defined here in the West.

    The nuance of “right” and “wrong” has become muddled with the quasi intellectual exercise of situational ethics which defines “right” as only of value to ones own perspective with no consideration of others.

    Hope wasn’t mentioned in your thoughts but I feel it is essential to motivate one to seek quality in ones life.

    Just a few thought.

    Peace,
    Kyle

  2. This sentence, “The next step in human evolution is the death of perspectives…,” is a keeper.

    Your admonishment that we should consider what is worth creating (instead of other factors) is refreshing. Makes me think of Pirsig’s thoughts on “Quality” in Zen. I guess it might not always be the most practical course of action in a supply-and-demand-driven world. But then again, if we only ever listened to focus groups then we’d end up with endless sequels — never anything new, innovative.

  3. I hadn’t read (or heard of) Pirsig, just Tolle. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has been added to my list now.

    Imagine what the world would be like, though, if everyone thought in these terms rather the way they currently do. And the only way to make that happen is if we do it ourselves (since we can only directly control ourselves). So in this life I hope to demonstrate that it is possible, even in the world in which we currently live.

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