The Beauty of Perspective

Ever think about WHY you hate something? Ever think about WHY you love something? Emotionally, you probably do. You probably hate your neighbor, because they are too loud. You probably hate your ex, because he/she cheated. But, EVOLUTIONARILY, why? If we think of ourselves as animals, every emotion or feeling we have towards something makes sense. Every emotion can be reduced down to one thing: survival.

Sounds a bit dramatic, yes? But, let’s think about it for a second using a very prevalent issue: illegal immigration. It’s SO easy to say “they” are coming here illegally. “They” are taking our jobs. “They” aren’t paying taxes, etc. We have a fear that something external will take away our resources and affect our families. Is this anger? Is this just hatred? Is this just resentment? No. It’s an intrinsic fear that something will affect your quality of life and, in turn, your survival.

Now that’s about as political I’m going to get on here, because that sure as hell is not what I’m here for. But, I want to give you folks a little bit of insight into evolutionary psychology. According to science daily, “Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach to psychology that attempts to explain useful mental and psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, i.e., as the functional products of natural selection. The purpose of this approach is to bring the functional way of thinking about biological mechanisms such as the immune system into the field of psychology, and to approach psychological mechanisms in a similar way.

In short, evolutionary psychology is focused on how evolution has shaped the mind and behavior. Evolutionary Psychology proposes that the human brain comprises many functional mechanisms, called psychological adaptations or evolved cognitive mechanisms designed by the process of natural selection. Examples include language acquisition modules, incest avoidance mechanisms, cheater detection mechanisms, intelligence and sex-specific mating preferences, foraging mechanisms, alliance-tracking mechanisms, agent detection mechanisms, and so on.”

I’m sure most of you would puke at the thought of hooking up with your parent or sibling. But why? Because it’s gross? Yeah, probably. But also because sleeping with immediate family increases the risk of genetic disorders. As animals, we want to reproduce with someone that will give our offspring the highest chance of survival, so our species can continue to flourish. Cheating, abuse, addiction, violence, etc. all have their roots. Is that an excuse? Absolutely not. So then what the hell am I getting at, exactly? Perspective. Everything in this world is about perspective. Rather than judging something because of an internal fear or a lack of understanding, put yourself in another person’s shoes. If someone cheated on you, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what is going on in the mind of that person, their circumstances, their situation, their upbringing. Rather than coming from a place of hate, try and come from a place of understanding, with all people you encounter. You don’t have to agree, but you can try and understand. Imagine how much happier this world would be if we tried to understand each other, rather than jump to conclusions or judgements.

If you’re a liberal, you don’t have to agree with a conservative. You just have to understand his/her perspective.

If you’re a Christian, you don’t have to agree with a muslim. You just have to understand his/her perspective.

If you abstain from alcohol, you don’t have to agree with the choices of an alcoholic. You just have to his/her understand.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason for being the way they are. Everyone has fears, struggles and triumphs. We, as humans, often forget that we are simply animals. We have intrinsic fears, we all yearn for love, happiness, security, food, water, and shelter. We seek social situations. We are all the same. Under our skin color, under our beliefs, we are all just the same. We are walking organisms comprised of cells and organs that seek basic necessities for survival and happiness.

Don’t be afraid of something you can’t understand. Don’t fear those that are different. Instead of fearing a threat to your own survival, let’s work together as an incredible species to contribute to the survival of others.

Switch your perspective. You never know what surprises you may find when you look at the world through someone else’s eyes.

Happy Living!