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The Big Picture: It’s all about perspective

4 September 2014 By Annie Sragner, Columnist No Comments

As I dive in to my junior year of college at Towson, this past summer sent me on a mini existential crisis.

I’ve always been questioning my position in the universe, but I’ve recently been compelled to dig deep within myself to discover what my passion or desire for life is.

I don’t have it all figured out yet, but some self-reflection led to the realization that I take pleasure in thinking big, and helping others think big.

I love thought-provoking conversations and seeing the illumination in someone’s eyes when they realize that there are usually two (or more) sides to the same coin.

“I’ve never thought about it that way!” That is my goal with this column. I want to help Towson think bigger.

In my 20 years on this planet, I have realized that one of the most prominent and profound facts of life is that everything is a matter of perspective.

There is no “one” world, only seven billion understandings of it. Your belief of reality, your perspective, is only what you have come to understand so far.

Observing your reality from a subjective standpoint can help inspire self-realization and evoke humility within yourself.

For example, think about the life of a fish. To humans, fish are simple creatures that swim and eat.

To our knowledge, we are far more complex as a society than the fish world.

Fish have no idea about politics, the economy or anything beyond their perspectives — namely, “When am I going to eat?” and “I hope I don’t get eaten.”

Only the few individuals who have been yanked from the water or leaped above the surface have an inkling of what is out here.

If they are even aware of the turbulent ceiling above them, they probably regard it as the cap of their world, their “sky.” Humans on land have an eerily similar cap on our world.

We have a blue sky similar to their blue sea-ceiling. We have clouds, just like fish have the boat bottoms floating or cruising above them.

Thanks to recent scientific breakthroughs, we have only recently gained knowledge of the worlds beyond our sky.

We regard our sky as fish regard the top of their ocean. Did we ever consider the possibility of unfathomably complex societies operating above us?

This blindfolded concept of singularity makes the world seem more like a finite bubble.

If our conception of the human universe is comparable to the fish’s sea, then a college campus seems like a puny coral reef in comparison. The college campus is a microcosmic sociological bubble. Our food is here.

Our shelter is here.

Our transportation system is comprised of footpaths connecting our various academic outposts.

Our borders are the defined lines of concrete and asphalt which separate our academic zone from the urban zone of our Baltimore area.

With the school year starting, students easily fall into the fish-like mentality of the college campus bubble.

Schoolwork becomes consuming and the real world seems like a distant dream.

World news is out there, and we are in here. It is interesting to experience and observe this perspective during our few short years at this university, but also remember to pause and think big once in a while.

The world does not seem as intimidating when you realize that we do not and cannot have it all figured out yet. It’s a big world out there. Time to get busy.

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