My mind’s eye has now thoroughly switched over to a symptom’s point of view. I almost feel I should capitalize the words… A Symptom’s-Point-of-View. What is so special about it? On the surface, nothing I suppose. Deeper down is another story.
The symptom’s-point-of-view is really about how I make judgments in the world I experience. As I see it, the normal way of judging the world simply mirrors the needs and fears of the person judging. Of course this all occurs sub cognitively. People aren’t generally self conscious when they pass judgment on the world out there. For example, if I’m afraid of snakes, I’m more likely to judge snaky things as weird, ugly, bad, or even (on a positive note) awesome and beautiful!
Of course, the judgments we make are seldom so directly linked. For example, judging rich people “bad”, doesn’t mean one fears them, or fears money directly. Nevertheless, rich people represent some issue, however tangential, that originates in a personal fear or need. Often, the negative bias toward the rich is sparked by our fairness instinct, (see PDF, Unfair Trade: Monkeys demand equitable exchanges). Such innate emotion (instinct) overwhelms any wish we may have for making fair and impartial judgment. There is a way around this dilemma however.
Simply asking why something is the way it is before ascribing any positive or negative color avoids falling into this subjective-parochial-bias-trap. For example, if I see someone behaving inappropriately, I ask myself, what do ‘they’ need or fear that drives ‘them’ to such behavior? Likewise, I aim this symptoms point of view inwardly to see what needs and fears are coloring my perception of ‘them’. A balanced view only comes by looking in both directions, outwardly and inwardly.
This is incredibly liberating, personally speaking, for I cease being drawn into the drama of judgment. My needs and fears cease contending with their needs and fears. What’s more, viewing life this way, can reveal much more about how things actually are, rather than just whining about life not being how I think it should be.
The symptom’s-point-of-view offers another way to interpret the ancient proverbial principle to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil“. First, I can’t imagine anyone believing that nature in the wild is evil. Nature can be ruthless, but it is never ever evil. On the other hand, humans and the perception of evil go hand in hand. The only reason for this, I can see, is that we perceive the world as it is, and compare it with our ideas of how it “should” be. Of course, our ideas of what “should be” merely mirror our own personal needs and fears. This battle between what is and what we think “should be” dissolves when we adopt a symptom’s-point-of-view. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. Life becomes so much more peaceful.