Ming the Mechanic:
Assuming Somebody Else's Viewpoint

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Assuming Somebody Else's Viewpoint2007-01-24 20:42
picture by Flemming Funch

Merlin Silk writes about viewpoints, starting with the well-known concept of toddler's property rights:
"All the toys are mine. If they are broken you can have them - but the pieces are mine!"

With a little monster like that in the house you are waiting for the time when he will be able to also see your viewpoint. The justification for that hope is that it would be good for the monster, he will understand people around him better, and have it much easier easier in life once he gets it in is head that "you get much further when you understand thy neighbor."

But let's be honest, it's mostly because I want the monster to see my viewpoint, right? That's why I am still trying to instill this ability to see a situation from somebody else's point of view - even if that "somebody else" is I.

Recently I started to ponder the idea that this might actually not be a good ability to have. Blasphemy, I know.

I might have mentioned - did I ever! - that I am working on a gut understanding of the idea that "the world is as I see it." But I am still falling - again and again - into the trap of seeing a situation from the viewpoint of another person. For example I know exactly what my significant other is doing wrong and what she should do different when there is a grinding noise in the relationship-gearbox: she should not blame me for something going south because she attracted that into her life, right or right?
And Gunter had a short comment.

The thing is, is it always right to try to assume other people's viewpoints. I know I do it. I often bend over backwards to try to see everybody's viewpoint. Which I suppose is a noble thing to try to do. Might make you a good diplomat. But possibly it also makes things complicated in terms of getting something done. You sort of have to second-guess what everybody thinks, and try to find the optimum solution for everybody concerned.

I sometimes get intrigued by or even attracted to people who don't work that way at all. People who only focus on what they want, what they're sure is right, possibly even without any kind of logical rationale, but merely an emotional certainty that they ought to do what they want to do. I find it a little puzzling that people like that even can exist. That they don't get themselves killed every other week. But sometimes it is those people who're more effective in many ways than I am, getting things done, because the world is more simple to them.

I was in this improv theatre group years ago. Very useful to get me out of my head. I loved the people in it, but they were all different from me. If there was any kind of discussion about something, I would as usual bring forward well considered logical arguments for one thing or another. And I'd quickly notice that nobody was listening to them, because it didn't matter to them at all. These were more emotional people. Different things made them tick, like stuff that made them feel something. Which I learned to appreciate.

So, *should* one consider other people's viewpoints? I guess it is a good thing to be able to, to aim for as much harmony as possible. But one probably also needs to realize that it is a little futile, that you never completely can see it somebody else's way. So, sometimes the more effective thing to do is to get really clear on what *your* way is, to make sure you really are in integrity with it, and then go for it. I mean, who else is gonna go for your thing other than you?

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24 Jan 2007 @ 20:47 by GeZi @ : look at success...
... and imitate it - guess this is something from some Anthony Robin's teachings (if not at least it could be from him).
This brings to mind a man who build a rather big thing out of nothing and one of his quotes I like is

"If you want to climb a steeple don't worry about people" (Lafayette R Hubbard)

Guess that covers if for being a diplomat able to see other's viewpoints.  

25 Jan 2007 @ 12:04 by ming : Modeling
Anthony Robbins' thing is a watered-down version of a key NLP concept, that of 'modeling'. If somebody is great at doing something you'd like to do, the effective thing to do would be to find out exactly how they do it. I.e. how do they think, how do they feel, what strategy do they use, what are their priorities, what steps do they go through. As opposed to the ineffective things to do, like being envious, or putting oneself down, or resigning oneself to not having been born with the right abilities. Many abilities can be learned if one just figures out their component parts.  

28 Jan 2007 @ 15:34 by Hanae @ : A multitude of viewpoints

Multidimensionally, mutiordinally, intersecting, converging, mirroring one another, diverging, bouncing on and of each other. All, and all, while it is a natural and reassuring thing to be attached to "one's way," any person's way is never entirely one hundred percent his or her own (as demonstrated on the thread above, Gunter Zieke looking at Anthony Robbins looking at NLP looking at...) There is a lot of crossbreeding and cross-pollination where viewpoints come from.

Crossing a river, leaping from rock to rock a man makes it to the other side. It is a combination of will, agility and luck that he made it. Looking back the man marvels at how “his” way assured his success. Soon, he’ll explain “his way” to others, how he meant to leap this way and that, how he knew, predicted, anticipated where each rock was. How “in control” he is. If he is vain or proud, he might look down on those who attempting their own crossing fell into the water, and he might explain to them how they did it all wrong. He might write a book about it and give seminars. Eventually it might not matter how he crossed the rive,r whether it was skill or sheer luck or a combination of both. He might become a motivational speaker. And his lectures might be inspirational to other and have some positive impact. But in the end everyone crosses his or her own river, and no two rivers are exactly the same. Nor does one can ever cross the same river again.

By and large one's viewpoint is a matter of what window one is looking from and how one ended up to that window. I like my window well enough but I like to take a look from other windows too, maybe take a look from the south window, or descend to the ground floor, see what the view is like at ground zero, or climb up a floor or two, and get some perspective.

The story of little here Polly Nomial is relevant:

Once upon a time (1/t) pretty little Polly Nomial was
strolling across a field of vectors when she came to the boundary
of a singularly large matrix. Now Polly was convergent, and her
mother had made it an absolute condition that she must never
enter such an array without her brackets on. Polly, however,
who had changed her variables that morning and was feeling
particularly badly behaved, ignored this condition on the basis
that it was insufficient and made her way in amongst the complex
elements. Rows and columns closed in on her from all sides.
Tangents approached her surface. She became tensor and tensor.
Quite suddendly two branches of a hyperbola touched her at a
single point. She oscillated violently, lost all sense of
directrix, and went completely divergent. As she tripped over a
square root that was protruding from the erf and plunged
headlong down a steep gradient. When she rounded off once more,
she found herself inverted, apparently alone, in a non-Euclidean
She was being watched, however. That smooth operator,
Curly Pi, was lurking inner product. As his eyes devoured her
curvilinear coordinates, a singular expression crossed his face.
He wondered, "Was she still convergent?" He decided to
integrate properly at once.
Hearing a common fraction behind her, Polly rotated and
saw Curly Pi approaching with his power series extrapolated.
She could see at once by his degenerate conic and dissipative
that he was bent on no good.
"Arcsinh," she gasped.
"Ho, ho," he said, "What a symmetric little asymptote
you have I can see you angles have lots of secs."
"Oh sir," she protested, "keep away from me I haven't
got my brackets on."
"Calm yourself, my dear," said our suave operator, "your
fears are purely imaginary."
"i, i," she thought, "perhaps he's not normal but homologous."
"What order are you?" the brute demanded.
"Seventeen," replied Polly.
Curly leered "I suppose you've never been operated on."
"Of course not," Polly replied quite properly, "I'm absolutely convergent."
"Come, come," said Curly, "let's off to a decimal place I know and I'll take you to the limit."
"Never," gasped Polly.
"Abscissa," he swore, using the vilest oath he knew.
His patience was gone. Coshing her over the coefficient with a
log until she was powerless, Curly removed her discontinuities.
He stared at her significant places, and began smoothing out her
points of inflection. Poor Polly. The algorithmic method was
now her only hope. She felt his digits tending to her asymptotic
limit. Her convergence would soon be gone forever.
There was no mercy, for Curly was a heavyside operator.
Curly's radius squared itself; Polly's loci quivered. He
integrated by parts. He integrated by partial fractions. After
he cofactored, he performed runge - kutta on her. The complex
beast even went all the way around and did a contour
integration. What an indignity - to be multiply connected on
her first integration. Curly went on operating until he
completely satisfied her hypothesis, then he exponentiated and
became completely orthogonal.
When Polly got home that night, her mother noticed that
she was no longer piecewise continuous, but had been truncated
in several places But it was to late to differentiate now. As
the months went by, Polly's denominator increased monotonically.
Finally she went to L'Hopital and generated a small but
pathological function which left surds all over the place and
drove Polly to deviation.
The moral of our sad story is this: "If you want to
keep your expressions convergent, never allow them a single
degree of freedom."

This story is called "Impure Mathematics," LOL, and has been around for 28 years or more.

The moral of the story, to me, is that it is nearly impossible to go through life, with one’s “brackets” on. Nor do I think that it would be such a desirable thing either were such a thing possible. While there are times when it is important to keep one’s “expressions convergent,” Poly and Curly’s story, however, is pretty much the stuff life is made of (though it doesn’t always have to be so chauvinistic in the way it plays out), inbreeding might seems like a safe static familiar thing to some, but its consequences can be much more dire than it’s alternative, inter-breeding.  

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Other stories in
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2007-11-09 00:55: The ends justify the means
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2007-03-21 14:45: Free Thought the simplicity of life
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2007-01-29 21:44: Free will in a ten-dimensional universe
2007-01-16 16:28: Free Will
2007-01-13 20:34: Dimensions of Comprehension

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