Perspective: Position, Experience, Values

In the discussion of relativity of morality we must always confront the paradox of perspective in which both the facts of time and space are skewed but also those of right and wrong. Our beliefs are a product of our experience and our experience, is a product of not only our position, but also our knowledge. Our position and intuitive faculty grants us what we can actually observe with our senses, and knowledge allows grants us awareness of things not immediately in our field of vision but can inductively reason to exist or have seen in the pasts. These  shape how we view the world and that is the framework also, for how we see ourselves. This relationship to the actuality of the world is always sliding together to create a very unclear notion of whether we can hold any claims of absolute certainty.

Similarly to the physical observation of the objects in the world, where we are positioned in the environment we are observing has great effect on how we see it. Our relationship to mountains is what tells us they are big. Etymologically the word “relationship” stems from the word for  ratio there by showing us that everything we interact with is some how reflected by a comparison of it to ourselves.

Given this fact, we must first analyze our own experience, knowledge, and position in the world (ie. social class) and try to understand what blindspots we might fill with prejudice, and what sensitivities might lead us to holding bias. Both a lack of knowledge or access to a perspective can hinder our understanding and we sadly we can not know what we don’t know that we don’t know. These zone of awareness extend out beyond what we are able to even fathom.

Our exploration begins with the subjective. We must look at personal testimony and accounts of events that illuminate how accuracy can be muddled or clarified by subjective account. While the individual offers unique perspective, they also carry a susceptibility to imperfect recall and other failures of the mind. If we fully believed in the powers of our own mind we would not record important things in print, video and audio media.

Following this appraisal we must inspect also these recording for they can be tampered with to mislead, and also exclude much of the story as told by someone who is there to experience history. In addition to this we have to deal with the paradigms of how capturing instances or seeking to observe them changes them inherently.

With this in mind we must ask not only “If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” but also why this is a worthwhile ideological scenario to wrestle with at all.

This month we will challenge and investigate the subjective nature of all truth and it’s relationship to objective claims.  I hope you will stick with us along the way as it will surely prove to be interesting. We hope. 


Maceo Paisley

Founder, Citizens Of Culture


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