Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Big, iron bound boxes

Sorry for the delay folks.

Also, I am bumping the Heroes installment this week. Maybe later in the week I'll get to it.

Today I just really feel like talking about worldviews.

Everyone has one. They may not know that. But you have a worldview. This is how you perceive things and respond to actions, ideas, and people. If I say red you will think the color - red. But during the craziness of the anti-Communist movement of the 50's, red would have been associated with Communism. Not just the color. Same thing with the French a few years back.

Two people can have similar worldviews, but it is not very probable that they will have the same worldview. And in the differences of worldview there is potential for conflict. Think Adolf Hitler. His worldview was that Germans needed to room to propser (lebensraum). It's just that his idea of "room" meant pretty much all of continental Europe and excluded anyone who might be a potential fly in the living room. Hence the little conflict we call World War 2.

But most of our worldview collisions aren't nearly that cataclysmic. For example: the other night while washing dishes after a dinner at church, a friend and I had a collision of worldview on what constitutes a plate ready to go into a dishwasher. He believes it needed to be scraped and rinsed off before going into the dishwasher. I believed that as long as the big chunks were gone, the machine could handle the rest. It was a small collision of worldviews, but a conflict none the same.

Where problems really appear is when worldviews cannot budge. And here is where boxes come in. We, people, humans like things neat and tidy. We like putting our world into a package that we can understand. That way we can cope with things better. Change disrupts the world in the box. Change makes us move things or expand the boundaries of the box.

But somethings are beyond the possibility of expanding the box to accept. There are some ideas or concepts that are so foreign to the way we view the world that it is inconceivable that they are valid. And so we reinforce the box, we build up the walls and secure them with straps of iron so that we can't be budged from our worldview.

And we lose the opportunity to grow. To become better.

We don't have to accept things we don't like. That is ludicrous. But we can at least see that we are not the center of the universe. Laws of life and reality do not originate within us. Life happens and change is a part of life. Reality is not what we make it to be. Reality is what happens when we are working together with others. (Those so-called reality shows are NOT reality. They are for the people living them, but for us, it is still virtual reality.)

Why is all of this important? Because vision and leading require the ability to see beyond your own box. I was trained in college as a historian. And I had a great professor, who I now call friend. He taught me the importance of learning both sides of a subject. In being able to listen to both sides, you get a more complete picture of what is true.

Inside our iron bound boxes, we reject the other side's perspective. We choose to believe that only our worldview is valid. Our truth is the only acceptable path. But I'm not that wise. I'm not that powerful. My worldview is shaped by only my experience. And there are times when we all have to adapt. We have to change.

I have had two conversations about this subject since Sunday. So I am not pointing fingers or thinking of anyone in particular. But I believe that we are all capable of building up the walls of our box and wrapping it tight to keep change and new ideas out.

My word to myself and to all of you is: open yourself up to listen to something you may not agree with. Find a way to get into a conversation about something you think is completely contrary to what is right in your mind. I'm not saying you have to accept it as valid. But come to some understanding that you won't know the truth of something until you hear the other side.
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