Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vantage Point

What is your vantage point?

Technically speaking, there are only 23 minutes of action in the movie Vantage Point. But what makes this film unique is that it replays those 23 minutes over and over again from different perpectives, so we can better understand what happened.

Here is what we know from the start: the President of the United States (William Hurt) is shot while giving a major address on terrorism in Spain, after which a bomb explodes, injuring and killing many bystanders in the same plaza as the shooting.

After seeing it through the lens of a CNN camera and a news production crew (led by Sigourney Weaver), we see it again and again through the eyes of a secret service agent (Dennis Quaid), an American tourist with a video camera (Forest Whitaker), a Spanish cop (Eduardo Noriega), a rogue secret service agent (Matthew Fox), the terrorists (Said Taghmaoui, Edgar Ramirez, and Ayelet Zurer), and the President himself in a bizzare twist of fate.

By telling the story from the perspective of different characters, Vantage Point gives us the whole picture. If we just saw the movie from one vantage point, we would only get one side of this complicated story.

Life is like that. God blessed us with eyes to see, but if we are blind to other points of view, we might as well be blind altogether.

We live in a polarized world today, more so than ever before. As a people, we have also grown more fundementalist and immobile in our perspective. There are more and more people saying "We're right and they're wrong" with a cocksure attitude, with no room for discussion. Whether it's our politics, religion, sports, style, sexuality, nationality, or business decisions, it's a fatal flaw that is spreading rapidly.

At the end of each 23-minute vantage point in this movie, I was so certain of what happened, only to have my presumptions challenged and overturn in the next go-around.

Do we find ourselves doing that in our lives? Are we open to seeing more points of view other than our own? Do we see the world through another's eyes, just so we know where they are coming from? Are we willing and humble enough to admit that we don't have all the vantage points in this world (and only God truly knows it all)? Would we have the courage to say to someone else, "I might be wrong about this"?

These are the questions that I ask myself before I get too proud of the decisions or the beliefs I have in this world. These are good questions to keep asking myself. It is a goal I like to set for myself, so that I do not become immobile and fundementalist in my life.

God gave us each a vantage point to see the world. The question is what we will do with it. Will we use it to work with others to complete the puzzle of this world, or will we hoard it like a diamond or a million dollars, never sharing it with anyone and even become enslaved to it? Let us pray that we will each use our vantage point wisely and responsibily.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about a situation that I experienced today, when I felt like everyone was walking all over me, and ignoring me. I politely asked someone to be quiet and instead it caused a scene and I felt like I was "the bad guy" because I was trying to make a polite request. Sometimes I think I have trouble finding an easy medium. It is hard to find the balance between what is a simple distraction and what is interfering with my ability to listen. Is that what you mean by looking at the other point of view, and asking myself how the other person felt when I kindly asked them to be quiet.
Sometimes just dealing with people is a lesson in itself.
Thinking back to what you said in another post, maybe it would just be easier to forgive the other person and move on with my life. Don't dwell on it and waste a days' energy.

If you have a chance, could you respond back? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult, when in relationships with other people, to know what it is that is wrong currently, causing the relationship to feel very strained and distant, when the other person or persons involved don't give you any feedback, as to what really is going on. It almost feels contradictory, because I feel like I am expected sometimes to read someone else's mind and make changes, but if you aren't aware of what specifically is bothering someone, how then can you be expected to repair a relationship?
Sometimes it can be more challanging with "authority" figures, because the boundaries are different in professional realationships.
If you have a chance, do you have any feedback or thoughts?
Thanks, Paul.

your survey was a lot of fun to complete. I liked the questions that were on it.