Parallax

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Parallax is an interesting scientific principle to me.

I won’t go in the nerdiness of it nor could I explain it to the extent that would make it seem like I truly understand it.  For instance, it is something used in astronomy to help scientist calculate the distances of relatively close stars based on the relative positioning of the earth in our solar system to the observable star.

There are some angles and an equation that needs the tangent…

And…

After that… my understanding falls off very quickly.

What I do understand about it is that what we observe changes based our position to the object.

A simple graphic.

Parallax_(PSF)

If I was standing at point “A”, I would see a tree with nothing behind it.

If I was standing at point “B”, I would see a tree, which based on the angle may look like a different tree, that is front of a house.

Both are correct and the larger the angle at “C”, generally the larger the variation of what is being observed. (MORE ON THIS IN A MOMENT*)

The key takeaway is that being 100% accurate in your observation on the exact same thing could produce 2 (or any number of) correct answers.

There is also the overused example of the blind men touching an elephant and describing what they are feeling.  All are correct.

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So what?!

It’s still a tree and it’s still an elephant.

True but the experience of it may be completely different.  We may end up arguing about the type of tree and may never agree that it’s an elephant.

I see why postmodernity has its grip on so many people’s thinking.  It’s the “everything is relative and there is no truth” mantra that is being chanted at times.  Like in the elephant illustrated above, if I think it’s a snake and you think it’s a tree, then whatever it is can’t be absolute.

So this thinking has a “dark side”.  Where ever there is a disagreement, then relativism must be correct.

Currently, in the public sphere, there is no truth on many things: sexuality, gender, religion, culture, and it’s growing.

*An easy one to play with… Explain to people how men and women are different, you will know who much this thinking is prevalent by a number of attacks you receive.

In addition, the growing awareness of different perspectives (like the angle “C” in the first illustration) shows that there are a growing number of “truths” available to a post modern thinker to validate that there can’t be a Truth.

The problem with this thinking is that people become certain that there is no certainty.

…and although we can experience the same thing as a rope, wall, snake, tree, etc.,

It still is an “elephant”.

The key here is to look for the “elephant” not the single perspective of a “snake” or “tree”. (obviously, I’m speaking metaphorically…. and obviously, I’m not speaking but typing)

When I see something or have an experience, where I live, my age, gender, education, DNA, upbringing, the amount of money I have in the bank, and on and on, will affect what I see and/or experience things.

When you see the same thing or have a similar experience, the greater the “angles” are on a multitude of things affects how closely we see and/or experience similarly.

So… Anything that is debatable, which includes most things/ideas, our perspectives will give a piece of the larger Truth on that thing/idea.  However, another Truth is that what we are disagreeing about is just a part of what we can learn and understand.

Remember the first illustration.

Parallax_(PSF)

 

Primarily, we focus on the Truth of what we are looking at as the focal point (“C” in this example).  We call it politics, religion, parenting, etc.  But what I find as interesting at times is the Truth of “A” and “B”.

Where people are in life is it’s own Truth as much as how it “paints” their perspectives/experiences.

So my experience of parallax is two fold:

  1. How I see/experience the world. (which is peppered with ego and “self”)
  2. Where I’m standing today. (which has changed and will continue to change)

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

– Multiple authors

 

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