An interesting English word is “lens” because it has so many uses in the language. A lens is found in the dissection of the human eye, and the eyes of other creatures. Contact lenses and glasses are used to correct or augment human vision.
If our interest takes us to a study of things so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye we may be helped in our search by the lens of a microscope. On the other hand, If we want to learn about something so far away that it cannot be seen with the naked eye we can be helped by the lens of a telescope. Information seen through these lenses is channeled via the optic nerve to the brain. The brain’s connection to the world around us makes it possible for us to believe that we can now see and understand and we have our own view of the world.
Seen through multiple lenses and if the data is processed by the brain, we have the evidence needed to develop a world view. The world’s population is thought to exceed 7 billion individuals. Since our lenses differ and since no two individuals see exactly alike, we may assume that none of the billions of world views are alike. Even persons without vision aids of any kind gather information that contributes to a world view.
This ought not be a surprise considering the complexity of genetics, environments, and cultural histories. The lens through which we view the world may be imperfect, soiled, or broken. Our sense of spirituality and our scholarly information may be up-to-date, but there is always tomorrow to reveal more. Evidence is always limited and culturally determined.
Currently I am reading the Kindle Edition of “Addiction and Grace” by Gerald G. May. He describes addiction as an attachment. In an early chapter he writes that he himself was attached to such things as nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and chocolate. He discovered that he was also overly attached to his work, need for approval, success, responsibility, intimacy, helping others, and an almost endless list of other behaviors. When these good behaviors become uncontrollable compulsions they may indeed be addictive and distort our view of the world.
I am indebted to an unknown scholar for the following confession: “I confess that I do not know everything about anything, and therefore I have much to learn. I confess that every other person in this room knows much that I do not know and therefore I can learn something from each person in this room.’
“I will therefore listen with both my ears and my heart. I will try to listen as I would be listened to. I will listen carefully to what seems to me to be error, while entertaining the possibility that what I am hearing may in fact be the truth.’
“I confess that I know at least a few things that no one else knows in the way that I know them. Therefore there will be times when I must speak out of the integrity of my own experience, knowledge and understanding. When I speak I will speak honestly, and in love. And as I speak I will entertain the possibility that what I speak as the truth may in fact be partial and incomplete, and therefore error.”