Point of View: How Perspective Influences Cultural Trends and Communication


Railroad tracks

A Narrow and Vanishing Perspective

I only have one opinion so it is the only one I can give.  I know that sounds narrow minded and resistant, but isn’t that really what it boils down to with everyone?  However, the problem with opinion is that many time opinions are irrelevant in an atmosphere of constant change of culture and communication technology.  As a result, one of the challenges in modern world is to understand the speed that culture is changing right before our eyes and how the communication of ideas is in constant state of flux.  Therefore,  on the high speed information network, the challenge reinforces a constant need to adapt to changing constructs and to understand that there may be an inhibited ability to comprehend the rate that information passing before our eyes is  feeding a blurred generational and cultural myopia.  In a world  where a narrow perspective is vanishing, some people may ask: Does any generation have an absolute truth or a point of view that is constant, timeless, and irrefutable through all of time, generations, and cultures to balance information contained in the communication of ideas?  Obviously, while there are differences about the answer, the ideas that many people hold as timeless principles of truth seems to be quickly vanishing in the milieu of ideas and being edited within the context of modern culture. A strong point of consideration about information and communication in a world that is technology bound is the strong evidence to suggest that the happenings of culture today are affecting, not only what subjects are relevant to the times, but how communication occurs in the 21st century.

In recent blog post Ed Stetzer (2011) cited Adlai Stevenson who stated, ‘”That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.’ He did not have a particularly high view of the next generation, but he does challenge us to consider the radical changes in thinking that are sometimes seen between generations” (Stetzer).   The apparent point to be understood is that every generation has a perspective that shapes contemporary beliefs— what is deemed important—values that form a perspective about level of importance of certain ideas.  In addition, it is not just the message of communication and values that is important, it is the fact that methods of communicating from the past are vanishing and being replaced on the super highway of technology. Consequently, what is apparent from an understanding cultural transformation in the 21st century is that a present cultural perspective is shaping point of view and validating the principle that both the vehicle and the message in every generation creates a shift in how people in a given generation arrive at a destination that they believe is truth and in a vehicle that the present generation creates its own mind-set.

Just as people from different cultures, races, and people groups think differently about important issues, generations are cultural subgroups of the macrocosm of human existence.  It is evident that each  thinks differently about matters of  believed to be of importance.  However, remember that successive generations hold a different point of view that is emerging and is relevant to the time.  Therefore while people may disagree, different perspectives are worth taking time to consider. It is said that one thing common to every generation is how the collective perspective is internalized. Ed Stetzer  (2011)  cited George Orwell’s perspective, which states that “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one that comes after it” (Stetzer).  Someone from a past generation may ask: Are current generations really more intelligent or are earlier generations wiser?  Obviously, the answer depends on perspective – what it looks like from where you are standing or pontificating.

What perspectives are influencing the way life is understood in the 21st century?

The perspective, the unique way life is understood today, is a sociological and cultural phenomenon. For those who want to deny reality and continue to ignore what is shaping the point of view of the emergent culture of the 21st century only creates frustration and disconnection, which does not offer any substantive answers or a reasonable framework to understand reasoning behind current ideals.

Ideologues and philosophers offer suggestion about what is occurring, but unfortunately understanding ideals and philosophy alone will not provide efficacy that creates effective communication. Ideals, are generally moral ideas or mores’ based on certain group identification that create expectations about how people should think or act. Philosophical assumptions are the ways that beliefs are rationalized into reason.  Thus forming, the informational content of perspective. Values or axiology has more to do with what is deeply felt, importance, passion, and motivation that affect beliefs. For example, the   felt importance of something believed to be true.  When tension deposited in life experience that conflicts with values, it results in conflicting ideas about importance that creates a  disconnect between perceptions and experienced reality.

The question is formed: Who/what is right how can the way values are felt be rationalized with experience that does not match a reality believed?  Unfortunately, I find myself at odds with most idealist and the emphasis upon what should be and find myself focused upon what emerging culture is saying. As a point of reference something that needs to be understood is how to  connect perception to reality.  Consequently, the constant flow of information  redefines the importance of what seems logical in one generation as information is disseminated and absorbed into successive generations.  Therefore, there is a tension that exists in the message and mode of communication that results in aberrations in what is felt about the information, which places the greatest emphasis upon perspective.

Obviously, anyone can give an opinion about what is wrong with something.  However, knowing what is wrong is not the critical issue in communication of solutions that are workable.  One perspective that some people have is to write people off who look different, think different, and have a differing perspective.  Another point of view is to embrace the culture and learn the language, thinking, and mindset of the 21st century.  Seeing someone else’s perspective is not whitewashing culture or moralizing behaviors, it is asking why do people do that in the way they do and understanding if the desire is to connect, communicate, and build meaningful relationships that we need to understand more than what we know.

With the increasing isolation of people and the desire to have relationships, there is a tremendous opportunity to step outside a solitary opinion and understand people as part of a culture that thinks different than we do.  The opportunity demonstrates a tremendous potential, if we will take time to understand how perception formation is impacting beliefs and governs the content and methods of communication in the 21st century.

Point of View Perspective Beliefs God Theology Church Traditions Statistics Surveys Theory Demographics Communication Context Relationships Unchurched Christian Universalism Philosophy Vision Mission Outcome.

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