Can you see as others see the world?

If you can see as others see the world then you gain a valuable advantage in problem solving.

Can you see the world as this swan may see it?

Can you see the world as this swan may see it?

I attended a lecture at Essex University Colchester last Wednesday on the plight of indigenous indians in Canada, specifically those in Labrador.  The Canadian government has embarked on a scheme to disenfranchise the indians of all their land, wipe out all their rights forever, and place them in perpetual bondage.   Underlying this horror was what has happened to the indians themselves, a people tainted with mental illness, alcoholism and high suicide rates.

I asked the lecturer why it is that it appears all indigenous people across the globe share this common trait of high levels of abuse, mental illness, suicide and alcoholism.  The answer given was that outsiders desired to force their alien world views upon these people destroying their sense of personal identity.  For example many of these people see land as a shared resource, the capitalist ideas of land ownership is at odds with their world view.  All Native American problem solving is through talking, and everyone has choice, whereas outsiders prefer to impose solutions and intellectualise with clever words.

In my view the answers to the many indigenous people problems is a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach: to walk in their shoes, see with their eyes, think with their minds.  Unless one can see from the point of view of the other person, never can there be good solutions to satisfy their needs.  Every connection with other people should be contract, where each comes to the table with a benefit to the other, and leave the table the winner.  How can any indigenous person leave the table a winner if they are treated with ignorance?

It is apparent to me that my approach to problem solving is at odds with the normal mode of thinking.  Take for instance history and archaeology, there is nothing like a good detective mystery to solve.  The current historian or archaeologist sits in their ivory towers reading books, intellectualising with theories; rarely do they place themselves in the shoes of those they study, to see with their eyes, to think as they think.  Rather than be the spectator I become that which I study, thus I gain valuable insights that the expert could never attain. I gather every scrap of information that exists on the subject of study, and then I become that which I study.

Often these experts approach the subject of study contaminated with their fantasies, opinions and dogma.  To see with a clear vision such baggage is to be dumped; then do, see and think as the subject.  I can do this bottom-up technique to get an idea of how any people, child or animal experiences the world.  It is a great shame few others use this process for problem solving.

12 responses to “Can you see as others see the world?

  1. You’d have though we’d have learned that lesson by now. 21st century and we still treat peoples like animals, like they don’t matter. Horrific. Thanks for the info. And I see things the same way as you by the way.If only more would do so….

  2. Powerful piece and great timing. I’m writing something for Learning from Dogs for tomorrow and would love to quote from here.

  3. [ Smiles ] That article of yours is a lovely one. If most people were capable of seeing things from another person’s perspective, there would be more harmony in the world.

    However, there are a lot of selfish individuals who only care about their own point of view.

    • Sadly you are right. I hope one day there will be a paradigm shift along the lines I wrote about in this blog post so that there would be the benefit of greater harmony in the world.

  4. Unfortunately there is no cure for ignorance or stupidity. Here in America we have pushed Native peoples to the brink of extinction and still do not treat them as equals. They are smarter than they are given credit for. They will get the land back. We, ‘civilized society’, term used loosely, will screw up our ecosystems so badly if we continue on our current course, that we will not survive. Native American wise men have already stated this all the way back when we were still warring with them. Having Native American in my family history, I cannot wait for the day that they are truly free.

  5. It would seem that common sense would hugely simplify the process and expedite reasonable solutions, though it would also seem too easy and perhaps counterproductive to the desired results. ‘First Nations’ peoples were aptly named and in the face of prevailing humanity you would think that those who walked and lived off the lands before us would have a good measure of claim to its habitation. Prejudice precipitates a tainted bias in historic record and it remains a history taught in schools to to our children to this day. Who are we so say that “they” are different? Who are we to arbitrarily forfeit the liberty of another based on race, religion or creed. Future history books will shame us of our doing. What a remarkable lesson we could all learn…we need only open our eyes, our hearts, our souls.

    • “First Nations” people have tens of thousands of years of wisdom and culture behind them, little changed from ice age through to today, this sort of track record is worth learning from. They provide a treasure trove of learning if the outsiders would only put aside their prejudices and pay attention. It would be a great loss to humanity if they vanished. It is a tragedy that they suffer so badly from the prejudice.

      Thanks for your comment Don.

  6. Pingback: Interconnectedness « Learning from Dogs

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