Skip to main content

vantage point

I wanted to continue with the theme of letting go but also touch on the idea of vantage point.

Everyone has a vantage point from where they see things. We review the world around us and see behaviour that pleases or displeases us and that filtering process is made in large measure by the way we were socialized. The biases that we buy into without question are often ideas that have been implanted.

I like to think of that as a coordinate system and from the vantage point of those axes we measure everything we see, hear and experience.

Over the last few nights I have been watching the PBS series on Mark Twain’s life and what struck me most, besides his extreme resilience in the face of such personal tragedy, was his disdain for slavery and mistreatment of all aboriginal people of every origin. I had seen this program before but I was once again drawn into its spell as it was so well produced and researched.

Samuel Clemens was well travelled and had seen most of the world and he was endowed with a keen ability for observation and social commentary. His prolific writing and lecturing provided him with great wealth but at the same time he squandered much of it through grandiose schemes and building lavish houses. He was, like many of us, a conflicted person; full of great talent but invariably human and flawed. The show takes you on an in-depth journey into his writing and quotes him extensively and one can sense in his wry and folksy humour the unmistakeable traces of melancholy.

How does all this relate to the idea of vantage point?

So much of what we experience in life is mired in tonal greys and it is sometimes difficult to gauge against an absolute grid. The things that people find immoral or reprehensible are so much attached to the period and the place. One of the still photographs in the Mark Twain program shows young boys attending the lynching of an African American man. Some stare into the camera almost grinning and we are left with a portrait that leaves us jarred and affected and yet was reflective of time and place. This is something that today we see as an absolute moral wrong and yet it is captured for posterity being celebrated by a mob.

When I look at my own life I realize as I age how much I am endowed with predetermined ideas which have coloured my own thinking process. Separating the objective and absolute from the tonal grey is sometimes challenging now so imagine how much harder it is for a young person trying to start their life.

The challenge we have as people is to tweak our level of discernment to filter out the wrongheadedness of the period we live in and find our own path. Life is challenging and short and full of traps that can take us off course.

As I watched the life of Mark Twain displayed in great detail before me, I was filled with the sense that we are all prone to greatness as well as weakness and in that humanity we must make our way through the joys and challenges of life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

One transgender woman's take on AGP

This entry from the transhealth website dates back to 2001 and it offers a very nice dissection of the now mostly debunked but still controversial AGP theory and how this transgender woman could care two cents about it. People who have been trying to marginalize the experience of gynephilic transwomen have pushed for the stigmatizing idea that they are actually perverted men. Well this soul, who couldn't give a hoot either way, isn't buying any of it and her frankness at times had me chuckling to myself as I read her posting. If we ever met I would give her a hug for seeing through the BS but mostly for being herself: "About a year ago I was reading on Dr. Anne Lawrence’s site about a new theory of the origin of trans called “autogynephilia.” This theory asserts that many trans women—and transsexual women in particular—desire reassignment surgery because they are eroticizing the feminization of their bodies. The first thing that struck me about it, of course, was t

my last post

This will be my last blog post. When I wrote recently that this blog had another seven years of life in it I was trying to convince myself that it was true. It was in fact a little bit of self delusion. With almost 3,000 posts to date I have accomplished what I set out to do which was to heal myself and in the process share some of the struggle I had been through with others on the chance they might find some value in my words. After seven years of writing, my life still isn't perfect; no one's is. But I have discovered a path forward completely free of the trappings which society would have had me adopt so I could fit in. Over the last 25 years of my life I have turned over every stone I could find while exploring this topic and in the process realized that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this deeply complex subject. What I have ultimately learned is that my instincts have more value than what someone who isn't gender dysphoric writes about me. We

Never Say Never....

 I was certain that I would never post here again and yet, here I am. It’s been several years, and life has changed me yet again. I have burrowed further into my psyche to discover more internal truths about myself all in the silence of a life lived with more periods of reflective solitude than ever before. After attempting for many years to be a problem solver for others, I needed to dig deeply to discover who I was, which should be a necessity for all people and an absolute imperative for those of us who dare rub against the grain of conventional society. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is honor the internal voice which has driven us since childhood. That whisper which we were compelled to ignore through our initial indoctrination must be listened to again for guidance. I knew I had spent too long heeding messaging that wasn’t working for me as a trans person, and it was time to stop. For the world gleefully basks in a level ignorance and hypocrisy we are not abl