Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Change Your Lens

The physical world is a metaphor for the metaphysical

Stephen Bau
Oct 17, 2018 · 3 min read

Our vision controls our perception and our perception becomes our reality.

(Dewitt Jones — 2:07)


I recently wrote about finding common ground and regaining a sense of balance.

I was asked,

“Are you saying we need a balance of capitalism and socialism? I would argue getting rid of capitalism and creating an entirely new system would be ideal, but maybe I am naïve?”

I was thinking more about the people that these political systems represent, the people we label as capitalists and socialists. We have been caught up in war of ideas, but it is the people on both sides of the war who are cannon fodder and collateral damage.

The labels are just categories that we put people into. They aren’t real any more than money or borders. But because we believe these tools and inventions to be real, we are willing to sacrifice human lives for ideas and for things. We believe we have evolved beyond human sacrifice, but we just do it on a larger scale in places like Syria, Yemen and Myanmar.

It may be wishful thinking for a more balanced view of the world that does not incentivize the expression of such extreme opinions that other humans are dehumanized to the point of being considered mortal enemies or worthless. I may be naïve. I would agree that capitalism, as a system, has reached a point of resembling what it most feared: an ideology enforced by a monolithic economic system and an authoritarian regime.

I do not tend to have faith in the systems that humans build. Over time, they become institutions where power corrupts the original intent.

Umair Haque wrote this in another article: “Who would I be myself if I hated such a person, right back, for hating me? I’d be a mirror image of them, wouldn’t I? What kind of world can people sneering at each other in mirrors build?”

America, in its hatred and envy of the USSR, in its fear of the mind control, violence, corruption and authoritarianism, has become its mirror image. Who would be the first to space? Who would amass the greatest arsenal? Who would assert economic and military control over the greatest portion of the globe? America and Russia are merely mirror images of each other. That is why Putin and Trump can be so collegial.

Maybe that is why the ancient wisdom literature begins by considering what it means to be made in the image of God, a reflection of goodness, generosity, compassion and creativity. We most resemble what we focus on.


I came across this video in The Liturgists’ new social network.

I can already hear the cynics grumbling, “Dewitt, you’re such a pollyanna. The world is in flames: war, terrorism, poverty, global warming. And you’re shooting puffballs!”

Well, to the cynics I say, “Change your lens!” Celebrating what’s right is not a perspective that denies the very real pain and suffering that exists on this planet. Rather, it’s a perspective that puts those problems into a larger, more balanced, context. A context where we can see that there’s far more right with the world than there is wrong with it.

When I put on that lens of celebration, when I really allow myself to see and connect with the beauty of the world, I feel like I’m a cup that’s so full it’s just about to overflow. I feel like I’m falling in love.

— Dewitt Jones

(8:27)

Stephen Bau

Written by

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design. https://stephenbau.com

More From Medium

Also tagged Balance

Top on Medium

Ed Yong
Mar 25 · 22 min read

27K

Top on Medium

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade