Note: Not only did Ann-Christine’s topic for this week (Lens Artists Weekly Challenge – Angles) push me to write a new post, but it also reminded me of something I’ve posted a few years ago. Since it still resonates, I’ll share this once more. In case you’ve already read it, I apologize 🙂 .
A radical change in perspective is never easy. Altering that already instinctive angle – be it broad or narrow – from which we regard life is a challenge, to say the least. As a person with somewhat twisted values and ideas (in certain respects), yet who is so stubborn that she hardly ever changes her opinions, I am also aware of the ineffable necessity of never forgetting to keep an open mind, especially when having to reach various conclusions. That’s why I normally perceive the idea of changing my perspective as a positive endeavour.
And yet… What about those individuals who narrow down their perception of the world to only a handful of selfish, misogynistic, bigot, anger infused notions? I’ve seen it happen to various people, the aforementioned disease manifesting itself in a variety of stages. I’m not talking about those bad moments/days we all have, when we open our mouth without thinking and utter things that we never thought ourselves capable of saying. I’m referring to those extreme modifications in long-term behaviour which make a person unrecognizable. When somebody close to you undergoes such a metamorphosis, when a person you used to admire becomes the opposite of who they used to be in a couple of years, you can only hope the process is reversible, although deep inside you know that’s not the case.
A man who once used to perceive women as goddesses worthy of male adoration now smiles cruelly whenever he hears another piece of news about a woman beaten to death. A man who was good friends with many gay persons now spews out homophobic propaganda whenever he gets the chance. A man for whom money was never important now hates everybody who is wealthier than him and he despises those who have less. A man who used to cry when hearing about the unknown victims of war or of natural cataclysms now bellows his hatred of anyone who isn’t exactly like him, in every way possible. A man who used to love experiencing and discovering new things now has a vivid disapproval of everyone who opens a book, sees a new place or wishes to grow in any possible way.
Their angle has changed. You can perceive their frustration with their own failure and mortality in every sentence they utter. But your angle will unavoidably change as well – the same way their view on life has changed, your perception of such a person cannot remain the same. That is no longer a person you can admire, just as you are no longer a person they appreciate, since in their eyes you have in many respects become the enemy. Sooner or later, you have to accept it. Sooner or later, they will verbalize it – initially not in so many words, initially in a conversation with someone else, but the moment when you hear those exact words is just around the corner. So you are forced into seeing them from a different angle, whether you like it or not.
I dread the possibility of something like that happening to me, the likelihood of having life narrow my ‘angle’ in such a manner. I dread the moment I might no longer want to learn anything new. I dread the moment I can no longer fight in order to remain the person I know myself to be. That is one angle I never want to experience.