PERSPECTIVE

by Alice Thomson

CW: abuse

Point of view is surprisingly important. As a child, I was always being told by my mother to ‘put my feet in another’s shoes’. It’s surprisingly difficult for children to actually do this.

According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children between the age of 2 and 7 are in the preoperational stage.  During this stage, children are egotistical in the purest sense. They display Centration and Egocentrism which means the child has a tendency to focus on one aspect of a situation at one time and they have an inability to see a situation from another’s point of view.

To imagine what life might be like for another is not something we are born with, but something we have to develop. With the current political climate of mass apathy, it seems to me that our ability to see aspects of life from another person’s perspective leaves much to be desired. Younger generations are particularly affected by this apathy; the 2015 elections showed 43% of 18-24 year olds voted, compared to 78% of people over the age of 65. That’s a huge difference. I’m by no means, however, suggesting that those over 65 are better at seeing different perspectives.  Younger generations are thought to be more tolerant, educated and progressive. It’s not clear why this doesn’t turn into votes. It’s thought that if more young people voted it would have a substantial effect on the upcoming election results, moving us away from a Tory governed country.

remaining egotistical isn’t just a bad habit; it could mean the end of the world as we know it

I do wonder if technology plays a role in the reason for younger generations’ more liberal attitudes not translating into a physical community or the political sphere. Our quality of communication has changed, we are able to dehumanise others, bullying is made easier, we are more depressed than before, we are lonelier than ever. Technology has advanced at an incredible speed, but it seems we aren’t ready for it. It’s an amazing tool for learning and sharing, but we’ve become obsessed. All of this stays online. We don’t allow this to transition into the “real” world. If we started to put our feet into other people’s shoes, and didn’t solely apply ourselves to a variety of monitors, maybe things would be different. The scary thought is that remaining egotistical isn’t just a bad habit; it could mean the end of the world as we know it. It can destroy lives. It can destroy futures. A different point of view can make all the difference, as you will see below.

Emerald

His View

Through the veil of thinly draped curtain, dividing me from her, I couldn’t move. Hypnotised by her strong, long sloping back. The curve of her hip, the point of her toe. Enigmatic, shrouded in a stunning emerald chiffon dress, with a low cut back, revealing the base of her spine.  She was beauty. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I had turned to stone, unable to move, barely able to breath. My entire world had shrunk to this pinpoint of a moment. All that mattered was her. She was now my world, she was everything. How had I not seen her before? Was this the elusive better half of my over ambitious host? The bustle of the house had stopped. Silence had crept through the door and laid its hand on all that moved. Her deep grey eyes looked into the mirror on her dressing table as she removed the mask of makeup she had worn to the party; exposing her bright, subtle skin. She caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror, but turned to see nothing. I had slipped quietly into the darkness. Silently I moved back along the balcony to the world that had never stopped. Back to the space I’d taken before, the party. As I walked through the French door, my heart beat again, my breath returned. Nothing had changed, but the man returning to the laughing room was no longer the same. I had been replaced, atom by atom, with this new being. This man with only one desire, one wish, one hope. The woman in the emerald dress consumed me entirely. I picked up a glass of amber gold. Lifting it to my lips, I smiled. I had found her. The only one that would give me reason to live. I knew now what I must do, I must meet her. Melancholy swept over me in my realisation. She existed, but I did not to her. I was no longer living.

Her View

I let him do this every time. As the clock ticked, I embraced the stillness. The laughter next door distant, I settled into the darkness. It shrouded and comforted me. This happens every time he gets drunk, or has a group of friends over, or things don’t go quite his way, or the day has a vowel in its spelling. I don’t know why I’m surprised. In all honesty, I’m not. But there is always that glimmer of hope that makes me think: this time will be different. This time he will keep his promises. This time he won’t hurt me. I’m so used to it I hardly notice the little nicks he takes. Those incisions, invisible to the naked eye. With each one he binds me to him. ‘Til death do us part. I’m not going to take it anymore. I can’t. Even when he hosts a party, at our own home, he keeps me hidden away from his friends. Slaving in the kitchen. Making everything perfect. But it’s never perfect. Not for him. Even as I wiped away the perfect smile, the perfect skin, all for his perfect evening, my face below cannot hide the truth. I noticed in the dim light how sad and clouded my eyes have become. How could he not notice? How could he not see? I feel watched by something unknown. Looking closely, I saw the reflection of someone staring at me. Or at least I thought I did. I turned, but nothing. Just the flow of the drapes caught in the wind from the open door. I’m still alone. I still do not exist.

Featured image CC0 domekopol / pixabay


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