“It’s for the children,” chided [Chere]. “And you’re going to give them 20 bucks.”
“How much did [Jinryu] give?” complained [Kell]. Kell is a gym rat, and it shows– he weighs about 220lbs, and is 100% beef. But that doesn’t stop Chere. My officemate speaks with qi in her voice, and if people think they can resist, they are mistaken– it is only because she allows them to think so.
“I gave 5,” I say. A week ago, I gave 5 dollars for someone else’s kid’s walkathon. And two weeks before that, I spent 5 bucks buying the world’s smallest box of chocolate covered almonds on the planet.
“What is this, discrimination?”
“Kell, we’re both black. I’m allowed to discriminate against you.”
“You know, there’s a word for people like you in Barbados: CRAZY.”
“How come he gives 5 while I have to give 20?”
“He bought me a dozen eggrolls Kell. The poor chinaman’s eggrolls are worth more than the rich man’s twenty.”
“Word,” I say, raising a fist, then turning back to my data entry.
Definition is something that is arbitrary. The camera’s focus analogy is relevant… the particular difference between looking at a photograph and simply using your sight to look in a direction is the focus of attention. The moment you focus attention, something becomes distinct and individual.
In some ways, it’s important to be able to define things. Analytical skills are important in any field of work. You need to be able to identify problems, and break them down into simpler components.
On the other hand, the shift in paradigm over the last decade has been towards seeing the whole. That means that you can’t just look at the problem– you have to look at yourself. Honest instrospection is what leads to understanding of the self, and it’s composition of both strengths and weaknesses.
From that point, one needs to set a smaller more appropriate focal length to get the big picture– how do I, as an individual, occupy this same terrain as the problem? How will our strengths and weaknesses clash?
Sometimes even, with enough of a broad perspective (and herein lies my respect for people who travel and learn about other cultures and ways of thought) we may find that those who we’d hold at adversity’s length at first will turn out to be allies in the big picture of things. It’s not just a question of perspective, from the point of view that we as individuals put on different glasses– that would be still us, looking ultimately from where we are– it’s a question of challenging our thoughts completely and understanding relativity; stepping outside of ourselves to see what is the basis of our focus. Treating ourselves and our obstacles from the third person.