I’ve been in the fortunate position to spend the June/July break in Italy and I would like to think it gave me some perspective. By choice I didn’t take my phone and considered myself cut off from technology, not reading any news.

This is torture for someone in the media but in the end a very liberating feeling. I actually took in the experience instead of trying to document it. I challenged the perception that we are so reliant on technology. I tried a different perspective. The beauty is that sometimes, when perspective sets in, the often trivial elements of our concerns get exposed. The alternative view of not being preoccupied with news from South Africa makes one realise that we as South Africans carry scars of our past and it reflects in the content that is sometimes considered newsworthy, especially if there are more important issues that require our attention.

The saying goes, don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. The problem is, perhaps, that we are too easily convinced that the shoe won’t fit. I’m not suggesting I have the answer to all the world problems but through perspective we might gain the sympathy, empathy and even humanity that is lacking in this “me, myself and I world”. Imagine if the person who fires a rocket at a civilian aircraft could for a second consider the impact of his action on the lives of the relatives of the people on that plane. War makes no sense. I won’t even start with what is happening in Gaza and the indifference from international community.

Perspective shouldn’t become a comparison game. It is not about placing your views in contrast to that of others. It is simply about trying to understand that which we often don’t want to understand.

The next time you are angry, upset or irritated by someone else’s actions, just try to view the situation from their perspective. We don’t have to agree with each other at all but the least we can do is to consider a different point of view.

Carel Willemse

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