There’s a reason why the rearview mirror in vehicles is so much smaller in size than the front windshield. The majority of our time is spent speeding forward so we need a large view, a big picture. Whilst the times we use the review mirror is relatively few…and some might say that there are some drivers that never seem to use it.
Driving at a good speed in reverse is seldom done. The view we find is narrow and often a bit distorted. The rearview mirror makes us look through our own vehicles and all our stuff, or the passengers in the back seats, to the world outside. Most accidents at low speed happen while drivers are reversing their cars.
It seems to me that drivers, institutions and even nations can get their views confused so that they act and behave as if they are looking through the rearview mirror.
It is all too easy to say this about politics – that the juggernaut of a nation is barrelling down through history with a narrow, backwards and distorted view. It can make for scary driving. It makes for horrific living. Yet I too am narrow. Narrow in my views and spheres of interaction. I rarely get feedback from the various subscribers to my blog. Most of them are likely ‘bots’ that just want me to click back to them to find some kind of marketing advertisement.
Equally, my computer keeps track of the websites I’ve visited and I surround myself in a bubble of like-minded folks. It is uncomfortable to experience the other and to learn something about a person, a place, a people, that we might find ‘other-worldly’. Despite this risk, many do make that leap and find that their perspective has changed.
Admittedly it is exhausting listening to angry, violent and abusive rhetoric yet the work of listening and seeking to understand is important. How else can bridges of understanding be built? How else can we then understand that we are all riding in the same vehicle? Reconciliation is tough work, and our view points, opinions and perspectives need to be shared, as well as critically examined.