Everything Depends on Where I’m Standing

Photo Emmy van Hal via Pinterest

Driving through Beverly Hills yesterday, a large metal sculpture on the median strip caught my eye. From several blocks away, it looked to be a perfect red circle mounted against a white backdrop—the size of a small commercial movie screen. As I got closer, the thing morphed into something else entirely. Several flat white metal sheets in oppositional directions careened into one another. Affixed to each sheet was a piece of curved red metal. As I drove by, I whipped my head and snuck a peak at backside, which revealed completely indecipherable black metal webbing. On my trip home I was able to see the reverse side from a distance and was surprised to discover the black metal webbing to be the world, a perfect globe against a white metal backdrop.

 Which is the truth? The indecipherable and oppositional metal plates or an integrated and cohesive world? Or are there many truths?

The work by South African artist, William Kentridge, is called “The World On Its Hind Legs”. He got it just right. Everything depends on where I’m standing. If I perceive things to be fragmented, at odds, and disjointed, my impulse is to rush in and fix what is clearly broken.

But if I step back and change my perspective, then I see a completed circle and the continuity of all things. How do I behave then, when nothing appears broken?

There are now 48 members on the bi-partisan Climate Solutions Caucus! 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats. They meet and have civilized conversations about how to address the challenge of climate change. They work together, giving a little here, bending a little there and in doing so, begin to look more like a completed circle than a collection of disjointed oppositional objects careening into one another.

Last week with the help of 46 Republicans (22 from the Climate Solutions Caucus), the U.S. House defeated an amendment to a Defense Department authorization bill that would have blocked a study on the impact that climate change is having on national security. They worked together to make this happen.

Where do we need to stand to perceive the completeness of our circle? To know that we are of a whole? That the fragmentation and opposition may be of our own making. When we experience that wholeness, how does that alter our behavior?

One comment on “Everything Depends on Where I’m Standing

  1. Thanks yet again for another powerful reminder that things may not be as they appear. Perspective and perception are so powerful in how they shape our world view. Great to take a step back and take a breath now and then.

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