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The Angels' Advocate
Widening our Perspective of Perspective OR The Awesome Power of Imagination
When a bee sees a sunflower, or a dog sees a sunflower, or a human sees the sunflower, and a bat perceives the same sunflower—they each experience something singular and definitive, and altogether different. But they all see, or perceive, what is actually there.
Stop and really try and understand the implications of this for a moment—it will change your day.
Imagine the way each of those creatures sees the same thing; completely differently. Consider how humans believe mistakenly that what we perceive as the truth is simply part of a very large set, of many. What we are pointing at here is not the trite observation on differences in perspective like how two people might be arguing from other ends of the same page, whether a number is a 6 or a 9. It is true our perspective can be comically narrow and ignorant, but the far more incredible thing is how each of those truths about the fundamental nature of the sunflower, coexist mutually without any contradiction.
In reality, the sunflower is the whole incredible truth of fundamental “being” which effortlessly supports all those diverse and seemingly irreconcilable narrower truths. It is not just that the person, the hound and the bee see the same thing differently, rather, it is that they each see what is actually there, and each sees a different frequency of reality, which the other cannot. It is not like a funhouse mirror where the base truth is warped relative to your perspective, it is that as well, but it is more so that there is also so very much more to the simple flower that all the different sets of perceptions are each able to detect.
To really understand the implications of this, is to understand something of just how vast even a single sunflower is. And by this notion, to begin to grasp how incomprehensibly vast the universe is, with so much more going on in nature, even in the room where you are, and it all simply and miraculously there—its near-infinite expanse of being and phenomena, far, far, far beyond what our senses can perceive. Its nature of being far beyond what the narrowness of consideration we have hobbled our imaginations to, and in our firmness of belief, prevent from breaking free, to imagine.
The diagram above is a depiction of the narrowness of the human range of perception.
Reality is far more nuanced and ordered than we can imagine. Humans see such a small bandwidth of light and hear such limited frequencies of sound, and all our senses are similarly limited to the human framing of perception. Our technologies provide augmentation and enhancements, but imagination is what sets us free and makes us uniquely predisposed to self-directed evolution. I am an advocate for the rare ability to entertain possibilities, and to strive blinded towards them; to leap for a ledge we cannot see, but which we believe should be there, by virtue of Reason.
One of the key distinguishing qualities attributed to leaders is the ability to entertain paradox—to choose to face and sit with the discomfort of the seemingly irreconcilable opposites that refuse to cohabit peacefully within the same human heart.
The chosen stance of simply allowing that a greater truth can exist than the one we hold is the key by which we might yet unlock all the doors that yet remain locked to us, in terms of the impasses and limits we encounter—in politics, in relationships, in science, and in the context of our own private spirituality.
We discover, the doors to all our freedoms are locked, always, from within.
I learned today, the notion of “Angels Advocate”.
We know that “Devil’s Advocate” is the stance of choosing an opposing perspective to see what we can break or dismantle about another’s argument. “Angel’s Advocate” is therefore the stance that asks how might we try their idea on like a hat and really commit to the look. What might the world reveal to us through the lens of someone else’s perspective? How closed and small we remain if we cannot practice this from curiosity and the sheer love of wonder and mystery.
Our Limits are what make us human, our imagination is what allows us to aspire to divinity.
Our beliefs limit us and limit our growth.
Our current limits are not our permanent limitations.
The diagram above outlines a dual approach to aligning our perception more closely with reality: on the right-hand side, it acknowledges that our inherent sensory limitations and perceptual biases can be greatly enhanced by technology, ranging from scientific equipment for grand-scale observation to wearable augmentations like glasses and hearing aids.
On the left-hand side, it suggests that technology's ability to refine our perceptions has its bounds, and to further diminish the distortion of our filters and the imprecision of our predictive models, we must cultivate stillness, and awareness, and engage in critical thinking and discernment.
The diagram above illustrates how our senses create a perception filter, and how awareness acts as a selective filter which we then interpret via incomplete predictive models, perceiving a diminished or distorted reality that diverges from the actual object. This process underlines the challenges in achieving true alignment with reality.
The natural question is “Are you as open to having your beliefs challenged?” Or “Are you even aware that what you call a definitive truth may just be an incomplete truth which in this way becomes a limiting belief?”
Certainty is mostly a positive and celebrated trait. But it can also be what keeps us small. Certainty makes no room for imagination. And imagination is the key to the door of infinite possibility.
ON CERTAINTY Be not so quick and certain to be your full accomplished self. For how ever is the greater version of you to arrive and take up residence, if all the seats are taken, and all spaces and silences filled with who you already are, and what you already know? Rocco Jarman