I am fascinated by the idea of ‘different worlds;’ the different environments which people live in, but also the different ways in which people view the world.
I suppose the easiest way to think about this is to put an optimist next to a pessimist, and ask each of them to describe the scene in front of them. Their descriptions will likely be staggeringly different, and I always wonder if you could get behind another persons eyes and actually view the world as they do, whether it would look exactly the same. Do we impose a subjectivity filter onto the world we see outside of us? I believe that we do, and it is constantly changing as we progress through good and bad moods.
I know that if there’s a lot going on in my mind, I won’t be as aware of the world around me. If I’m stressed or tired everything appears very flat and drab, and I don’t really feel too much for my environment or my activities. On the other hand, when I’m in a great mood the world seems bright and upbeat, and I can almost feel the thrumming of possibility and potential inherent in everything around me.
So I feel that each of us probably view the world slightly differently, depending on what mood we’re in and what we’re doing at any given time. But, on top of that, I feel that the way we view the world probably also depends on how we feel we relate to it, and that this will be a constant underlying state of perception, which differs from person to person because each person is breath-takingly, complexly different.
Having just started working for a homelessness charity, I start to wonder how someone sleeping rough would see the world around them. How the world would appear to someone who maybe hasn’t gained too much advantage or luck out of life. I can’t imagine waking up, cold and scared and lonely, with nowhere safe to go and no real comprehension as to whether or not their situation will improve. This may sound a little melo-dramatic; but the sad thing is that it isn’t.
I walked down the high-street this morning, to come into work, feeling pretty on top of the world tbh. The sun was shining, I’m totally psyched about this job and what could come of it, and I was looking forward to getting a latte and a croissant for breakfast. I passed a guy sitting on a squashed downcardboard box, wrapped in a dirty blanket and holding out an empty paper cup for change from passers by. I gave him a few coins, and as I did so couldn’t help wondering about how different the world probably appeared to him that morning, from how I was experiencing it.
I know that for me, when I’m in a down mood the world doesn’t seem to offer much of colour or of life- but what if you’ve lived your whole life in a pretty down mood? What if life itself has never seemed to offer you up much positivity or reason to feel good about yourself and your future? I imagine that the world must be a very bleak place, and must appear so different from how it does to me.
I think that this is one of the worst injustices, that people get ground down to the point that they can’t see the possibility around them, and can’t feel a sense of hope and optimism. I realise I’m speculating here, and that guy with the box and the blanket might have been enjoying the sunshine as much as I was. But, having met quite a few people now who are either sleeping rough, or have been in the past, most of them seem to have led quite desperate existences, and experienced hardships I cannot imagine.
I guess noting where all my WP viewers came from yesterday made me feel as though my world is so large now, my thoughts and words are being engaged with by people all around the globe, and this is yet another thing which works to enhance my mood and brighten up my day. It also serves to remind me how lucky I am, and seeing that guy this morning got me thinking about all the different versions of events which exist out there, all the different perspectives, subjectivity filters and worlds.
Worlds and perceptions made different by distance, language and culture, but also separated by the simple distinction of being a person begging for money, and being a person with enough change in your wallet that you can afford to give some of it away.