Clarity can be described in a multitude of ways, but for this post I want to focus on the idea of how we view and live our lives. In light of the unusual political presidential drama, the continuing attacks by terrorist groups and the racial tensions which seem to envelop our nation, I wish to take a step back and look at these situations from an objective perspective-at least that is my hope.
Above and below are two photographs of the same field with hay rolls and green vegetation. Obviously, the focus is either near or far, clear or blurry. Similar to how we see life much of the time. Certainly, one can pretend to be totally objective in viewing and interpreting our realm of existence and the part we play, but we are only kidding ourselves if we believe we always view life and situations with the utmost clarity.
My hope is this, as Jimmy Cliff sang in 1993: ” I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. I can see bright (bright) Bright sun shinning day. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) Bright sunshiny day.”
I’m curious as to what captures your attention when you first view this photograph. I know what I see, and it isn’t all that clear. However, I still like the variety of colors and shapes found in these flowers, regardless of their clarity (something in extreme focus). My point of view from a photographer’s perspective is affected by light, angles, distance, movement, camera settings, and much more. As applied to me personally, my point of view is affected by my state of mind, stress level, amount of sleep, pain level, happiness level, relationships, events, trials, schedules, etc. Below are two more examples of the same perspective dynamic, with each image taken from the same location and within a few seconds of each another. The difference is in the focus aspect of my camera (depth of field). This was purposely done to emphasize what I wanted to be in focus: Carson or the flowers. I could have chosen to make everything in these images clear, but that would not help me in making a rather simple point. And, my point is…………………………………. How we view life and respond to it can be boiled down to what we focus on. The clearer our perspective (point of view) usually results in an objective response while the opposite generally holds true. Namely, out-of-focus perspectives result in very subjective and often overstated or inaccurate responses, and often create problems.I was reminded of this dynamic when I listened to a wonderful song by Johnny Nash from 1972. The lyrics go like this: I can see clearly now, the rain has gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds which had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)sunshiny day. I encourage you to listen to this song as it will put a smile on your face. May all your days be filled with lots of sunshine and your perspective clear.
Optometrist: With the spoon over your left eye, please read the top lines, and then the bottom numbers. Optometrist: Now, with the spoon over your right eye, please read the top lines and then the bottom numbers. Which is clearer: the first image or the second? Patient: Well doctor, it all depends on what I am focusing on. Optometrist: What do you mean? Patient: When I stare at the object in the distance I can see it clearly. And, conversely, when I focus on the object up close I can also see it clearly. However, I can’t seem to focus clearly on both objects at the same time. What should I do? Optometrist: That’s simple. Open both eyes when you stare at something and all will be clear. Patient: You mean I don’t need corrective lenses? Optometrist: No, but don’t be mistaken…you need vision correction, but that won’t be achieved with glasses, contacts or LASIK. Patient: Then how? Optometrist: By changing your perspective. None of us can see clearly when we view life from a narrow point of reference. We must expand our field of vision which allows more light to enter through our eyes, into our minds, and which eventually illuminates our hearts. By developing a greater point of view we see more clearly. The result will be an objective perspective.