Through The Broken Looking Glass

The world is broken. There are various reasons for why this is true. There are many ideas for how to fix a broken world. I’m not here to profess that I can understand the complexities of the situation. Rather today I’ve been thinking a lot about how the thing that seems to stand out the most is that we view our world through a broken perspective. Until we can truly see the world from a different outlook the results will undoubtedly remain very similar to the current state of affairs.

I cannot pretend to understand the world that someone else sees. I can relate to similar experiences with some people but not with everyone. Similarly most people don’t understand my world. Part of the purpose of writing in this blog is to help other people experience some of the concepts of my life and my world and to maybe have a slightly better understanding of it. Then maybe they might also consider how they look through their own life. With that in mind it is important that for me to view the world I can only do so through my own perspective. I am not perfect, I am not in power, I am not all knowing, I am not the one to experience the pain or loss that others may feel.

When life happens the way in which we see our lives can be so clear. Yet when we look at other people’s lives it can become less clear. Sure we can sometimes stand back as a third party and try to make decisions of things that aren’t actually in the moment. Yet when we are in a similar set of circumstances would our actions, judgement, thoughts, emotions really be so different? When I was getting my Master’s Degree on the first night of one of my classes we were asked, “Who are you?” Doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary for a first class. Yet we weren’t really just being asked about something like our name, where we were from, or things like that. While those are important so are other characteristics like gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious background, political affiliation, ¬†socioeconomic status, mental and physical ability, number of parents.

It was clear from the moment that the class started that every member of the class was very different. We came from completely different points of view and backgrounds and yet in that moment and in that space we were experiencing the same class. This doesn’t mean we were all viewing what was happening in the same way. It was a struggle to come to common terms on most of the issues we discussed and that was the point. To identify and deal with bias. To communicate frustrations and criticisms of the way certain things work. To take our world view and broaden it to consider the possibilities of things that we had never even remotely thought about. For me one of the topics of conversation I can remember clearly having no clue how to respond to was how to make the world and especially the internet more accessible to those who are blind and/or deaf.

I just remember closing my eyes, not to make it so that I couldn’t see, but because I could see and wasn’t doing anything about it. It was an unseen weight that came crashing down on me as I realized there were so many things I didn’t truly understand. Something akin to sensory overload. The heartbreak of all of these things that we are biased and conditioned to ignore or ignorant to the existence of suddenly came flooding over me. Now while I’d like to say in that moment I changed the world and figured out how to banish all bias and to fix every broken piece in the world, that didn’t happen. But it was in that moment that I found something more.

When I was able to truly see the problem, it wasn’t when I approached it as someone who is perfect in a certain area. It wasn’t even when I was broken in certain areas, where I had been persecuted myself. Rather I was able to see the true problem for the first time when I realized that life is not two dimensional. When we fail to see things from multiple angles to truly understand the depth of certain situations, when we fail to see the situation over time, then we don’t truly understand the problem. We fail when we assume and generalize without true evidence to the facts. We fail when our solutions only fix our problem and not the problem causing the problem.

This doesn’t mean don’t ever try to solve problems. This doesn’t mean the world won’t always be broken. But when we view the world and realize that we are looking through a broken looking glass, then and only then can we start to focus. Only then can we properly understand there is more to this life. Only then can we begin to see the world. The world is broken. The lenses that we look through are also broken. There is also beauty, and love, and so many things that aren’t broken, but only if we allow ourselves to see them too. I invite you this week try to find the depth of this world. To find perfection in the imperfection. To find love among the hate. To find understanding, peace, love and joy. But above all I invite you to find yourself.


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