Seeing Differently

08 Nov 2009|Darrel Rhea

Thursday night my wife Nancy and I stood at the edge of a 3000 ft. cliff over looking Yosemite Valley. A full moon and sky full of stars lit Half Dome and the sheer walls of the valley below. We had Glacier Point to ourselves, not a person within many miles. It was perfectly quiet and absolutely still, the only sound was the crackling of a distant waterfall.

Yosemite is familiar territory. I have visited many times and hiked, camped, climbed, and taken the kids. I think of it as “our park.” But that night, I saw it for the first time again. It went from “our park” to “one of the great wonders of the world.” It took my breath away.

How much of the world around us are we blinded to by assuming we already know it? How many meaningful experiences do we miss? And how do we shake that up? Well, the first thing is — we have to look. That means caring enough to reconsider what we think we know cold. Beyond that, the best way is to see it through the eyes of another — just sharing the view with another human is enough to change the context and provide a different perspective. The act of sharing forces us to see it anew.

That is why research is a team sport. Let’s go see the familiar for the first time.

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