The lens through which we see – fixed or open to invention?
I used to wonder if children who wore glasses saw better or only different worlds…Whatever reality may be, it will be shaped by the lens through which we see it. When we are born we are handed multiple lenses: genetic inheritance, gender, a specific culture and the variables of our family environment, all of which constitute our sense of reality. Looking back later, we see that we have perhaps lived less from our true nature than from the vision of reality ordained by the lenses we used.*
The good news is that our actions are not correlated to some reality ordained by those lenses, but rather to how the world “occurs” to us. With the unsettling of old realities, stepping to one side and another, we become interested in what might be, what we can imagine. “Reality” is a phenomenon that arises in language. Language is both the ultimate reality and the medium through which reality is brought forth—there is no reality “per se,” no fixed reality. There’s only how we see it, how we say it is—it’s interpretation all the way down.
It’s language—what we say (with and about others, ourselves, and the world at large) that constitutes who we are. Getting that at the most fundamental level alters the very nature of what’s possible—not merely in the way we think about ourselves, but in the actual experience and expression of who we are. Language is inseparable from who we are, and what gives us access to our true nature—to the full panoply of being human.
*James Hollis, The Middle Passage.
Landmark Forum leader
MORE DAVID CUNNINGHAM