Thought For The Day #2028 February 2014
Broadcast 28th of February 2014 on BBC Radio Bristol
I wonder whether people a hundred years from now will look back at us the same way we look back to the First World War? We’re not in the middle of global military conflict, but perhaps future West Country folk will be intrigued by something else; like our collective inaction against climate change or how the novelty of the Internet is affecting us.
Whenever I hear stories from such a long time ago I’m always surprised that it’s the trivial details that interest me most. Like imagining centuries-old commuters walking down the very same streets I use. One day this week I had to stop to take a stone out of my shoe, certainly not something worthy of the history books (even though it was a particularly sharp one). But picturing a person that lived and died long before I was even born, balancing in the same spot I did with only one shoe on, blows my mind.
What if someone a hundred years in the future would be equally fascinated to see through my eyes as I do now? Most of my day is terribly mundane, but what’s ordinary to me might be mind-blowingly extraordinary to a future historian.
What I’m talking about is perspective. I’m looking at exactly the same thing, but from another angle and suddenly it appears completely different. It’s like that picture of a vase that could equally be two people looking at each other. Perspective helps keeps us sane. It stops us from becoming too blinkered in our outlook. So next time you need a little perspective just remember that by the law of averages there is likely to be at any one time at least one person somewhere on the planet balancing on one leg emptying their shoe.