Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Subjectivity and Multiple Perspectives
The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice,
Elliott W. Eisner, Merrill/Prentice Hall, 1998, page 49
Eisner relates an occasion when a number of students were asked why many deer would die during the forthcoming hunting season. They came up with a number of plausible, overlapping, but different answers. Eisner comments that none of the answers were necessarily truer than another; it was a matter of perspective.
As one's ability to take different perspectives grows, what is considered relevant shifts. The data one seeks changes. The interpretation that is appropriate alters. Taking various perspectives is a way of examining situations from different angles.
It is not, he suggests, simple a matter of being able to glue an eclectic choice together in a way that seems to 'fit' or please, but:
It is a matter of being able to handle several ways of seeing as a series of differing views rather than reducing all views to a single correct one.
Methinks that we, as people of faith, have a habit of being reductionist where possible, then rejecting positions that fall outside our definition of 'normal' rather than taking the time to think through alternatives and coming to an understanding that a measure of ambiguity and therefore uncertainty is part not only of this life and this world, but also of our perception of G-d being as it is necessarily limited by trying to see the infinite from a finite point of view.