Photo by Joel Fulgencio on Unsplash | My Perspective is mine alone.

My perspective is the lens through which I see the world. I see it as gray rather than black or white. I no longer think of dualism as applying to people only to actions.

This perspective has been formed during my 77 years of experiences, reading, reflections, and interactions with my friends and acquaintances. Yours will be different, of course, but you may have some similarities.

In the beginning

My formative experiences included degrees in Electrical Engineering, being thrown into a computer center management position right out of college, working at a Cancer Research Center and Los Alamos labs, further management jobs as a project manager, and as an interim Director of a Ballet company.

I was born in 1945, after World War II, into an Air Force family. I was the oldest of five children and the first to attend college and get an advanced degree. We moved during my early years we moved every few years. While my father was serving in remote areas, I was left to help my mother take care of my two other siblings, later four siblings.

Moving was a fact of life for Air Force family members. As I reflect on this today, I can see that my introversion, aloneness, and self-reliance became a part of my inner being because of the frequent moves.

More importantly, as I look back now, moving was a significant factor in developing my current perspective. I lived in Michigan twice, Florida, and then in Arkansas. This gave me insights into how different people think and the perspectives of people living in various parts of our large country. Then when I graduated from High School, I went to college at New Mexico State University, another view of a different society.

Integration vs. Segregation.

When I went to school in Michigan, I attended schools with mixed races that got along and treated each other as human beings. Then when I moved to Florida and lived on an Air Force base seeing other races as equals continued. Seeing everyone as equals wasn’t taught much. It was just accepted as a part of our lives. While living on an Air Force base and going to school with other Air Force children, an integrated society was the norm.

Then I moved to Arkansas for Junior high and High School and saw a segregated society. Different bathrooms, different water fountains, and different schools.

I walked past Little Rock High School during the first push to integrate black children into the school. I will never forget watching from across the street as the eleven black students arrived at the school and got out of their cars to take the almost block-long walk to the entrance. The walkway was lined on both sides, with white students jeering and shaking their fists at the students. The young black students were escorted by the National Guardsmen into the school each day. You could feel their palpable determination in the face of the total rage of their soon-to-be classmates.

This was something that I didn’t really understand or see the reasoning behind at the time. I had been going to schools with mixed races for most of my life by this point. I was shocked at the rage and confused by the display of anger against other human beings just because of the color of their skin.

As I watched integration take hold, left for college, and came back for visits, it became clear that while integration was working on the surface, the segregated feelings still ran deep. I was surprised at how easily people could give lip service to segregation while still seeing the races as superior and inferior. The obvious signs were that restrooms and buildings no longer had separate areas for blacks and whites, but I saw them turn and walk away from a restroom if they saw a black person enter. This made my belief in the equality of all persons as human beings even stronger, but I am sure it will take many generations to unlearn racial separation.

As I finished college and then worked my entire career in the west, I saw a different set of societal values than those I had seen in the other parts of the country. Here we had a different kind of rugged individualism that was pervasive. The isolation of many ranchers from the services found in our cities and taken for granted created a perspective of self-reliance and individualism.

My Perspective

Back to my perspective, my perspective includes these experiences as well as several experiences as an adult that have led me to understand more of the facts that we are taught about the duality and tribalism as a part of our society and life. If I am correct, you must be wrong if you disagree with me. If you are a republican and I am a democrat, we can’t possibly agree on anything. The Churches teach this doctrinally when they talk about good and evil.

My philosophical and wisdom readings have also affected my perspective in later years. As an engineer and working father, I had little time to delve into past philosophers who have helped me see the world is grayer rather than just black and white.

So, here is my perspective and hope for others in a nutshell:

  1. I am a part of humanity, as is every person.
  2. Everyone has their point of view and insights that can contribute to the clarity of my own if I am willing to listen
  3. Duality may apply to some things but can’t be allowed to apply to humans.
  4. Earth has treated us very well, and it is our responsibility not to misuse or overuse it so that it can also treat future humans.
  5. Things do not define humans, only their actions define them.