The Role of Perspective

Although essentially a descriptive piece of writing, the title accurately describes the focus of this piece of writing, this being “The role perspective plays in interpreting the space in which we find ourselves.” The piece follows Paige as she walks through the grounds of Rhodes University explaining, interpreting and feeling her surrounds as she goes. Through the process of the transect walk it becomes clear how each person’s unique experience of life has such a great influence on their connection to, and perspective of, the world around them. Understanding and accepting this forms a vital part of learning to live peacefully and constructively; an education with the purpose of creating a cohesive, considerate world.

Without consciously making the decision to do so, we are all predisposed to viewing the world and space in which we find ourselves, in a completely subjective manner – our surroundings subconsciously become projections of our emotions, experiences and attitude. Through the process of doing a transect walk and “interviewing” Paige Cox, it became undeniably clear that each person interprets their environment and state they find themselves in remarkably differently ways, no matter how many similarities and how much common ground they share. Although we did find many more commonalities in our personal lives than one may have originally thought possible, the walk proved just how individualistic one’s perspective is and in this case, how that perspective influenced how we saw our environment.

With our shadows falling in long lines behind us, faces bracing the chilly wind but embracing the last of the warm rays of sunshine, we set out. With picturesque lawns on either side and an avenue of leafy greens leading one’s eyes onwards and upwards to the Clocktower, Paige noted with a nervous enthusiasm how this is exactly how she envisioned university life (and Rhodes specifically). Even as we walked and talked, happy chatter and an occasional ripple of laughter traveling on waves around us, it did indeed look like a stereotypical university scene. This being said, I could sense that despite comfort having been found in the expectations met, we were both still coming to terms with and settling into this new way of life. As we drew closer to the Clocktower and Paige pointed out the peeling paint that “makes the picture not quite as perfect as it could be,” I realized that we were still very much new to this place – still noticing every detail and keen to explore and experience this bigger world which we could only compare our smaller world experiences to. It was just the beginning.

Venturing further into the heart of Rhodes, ascending the great steps of the Clocktower (aptly and with a giggle nicknamed The Watchtower by Paige), we made our way through the cool, echoing halls of the admin building, taking in the majestic surroundings with awe and respect. Paige chose the route she had for a variety of reasons but as we continued our interaction, I came to the understanding that here was a young lady who valued her relationships with her friends and family, was independent as much as she was soft, gentle and kind, and who had a keen sense of observation and purpose. Connections with elements of the environment we were walking through were made in such a way that displayed the afore mentioned as being prevalent factors in shaping and influencing who Paige was as a person; her attitudes, morals, life experiences as well as her personality. From the glittering fish pond that reminded her of her high school friendship circle, to walking down New Street and comparing it to the hustle-bustle of social hotspot, the thriving Florida Road back home, Paige’s connection with and interpretation of her surroundings was based on her individuality of experience shaped perspective.

As we came to the end of our walk, under the shade of a big oak tree outside The Rat and Parrot, we drew on the conclusion that besides enjoying each other’s company, the walk was an interesting and eye opening experience for the both of us. It provided an opportunity to view the world through another person’s eyes and in doing so opened the space for discussion, opinion and realisations that never would’ve come about if only seeing this new world from one’s own viewpoint. With the excited chatter and buzz of noise from all those having an early sundowner above us, I suddenly became very aware of the fact that due to each and every person having an entirely unique perspective, not one of us sees the world and our surroundings in the same way. Each interaction is an opportunity to discover the world anew, in a completely different light, as an exploration through the senses of someone just like you or I.

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