Does the lens through which you view the world distort what is truly there in front of you?
“What is beautiful looks always new and always delightful, and can be no more old-fashioned than a flower can.”
This is Oscar Wilde on the timeless and intrinsic beauty of truly classic clothing, from his 1885 essay The philosophy of dress.* In a flower, in nature, the worth, the value, the beauty is inherent. Each of these qualities is simply there.
How clear is your view of the inherent worth, value and beauty of what you see before you, right now?
How much does the lens through which you view the world colour or distort what is truly there in front of you?
Our perceptions of the world can be clouded by our conceptions of worth, of value and of beauty. What we think is true might be just the truth of the lens that we impose on the world.
I have always liked these words from a Chinese Zen poem**, which invite us in the gentlest way to consider things from a different perspective:
“In the scenery of spring there is nothing superior, nothing inferior;
Flowering branches are by nature some short, some long.”
Our own hierarchy
How we perceive nature can be coloured or even distorted by the lens through which we view the world. We might impose our own hierarchy of superiority and inferiority.
How we perceive people – their actions, their behaviour, their motivations – can be coloured or distorted in this way, too.
The order we impose on things is not necessarily the natural order of things.
If we believe in equality for one, we must believe in equality for all. Remembering and acting on the belief that humans are equal in all directions should be a core part of all our actions, always.
Our commitment to equality, to diversity and inclusion, should and must be endlessly reaffirmed.
The distorting lens of your perceptions can also affect how you perceive yourself. Your own inherent worth, value and beauty are always there, whether you recognise them or not.
There never can and never will be a substitute for you. There never can and never will be a substitute for anyone you love, anyone you know, any random stranger you might chance upon as you make your way through today.
Nothing superior, nothing inferior.
* This essay can be found in the book Oscar Wilde on Dress.
** I wish I could claim to be a connoisseur of Zen poetry. But the truth is that I only know this poem from the liner notes of Tony Scott’s immortally beautiful album Music for Zen Meditation. If this title is unfamiliar to you, please do consider giving it a listen. It would make my day to be able to introduce another soul to this lovely music.