THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

You have probably heard the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It means, of course, that one person may think something is beautiful and someone else doesn’t. The idea is that not everyone has the same sense of what is beautiful and what isn’t.

Apparently it’s the same with regard to balls and strikes and other calls at a baseball game. I attended a college baseball game on Saturday and a couple of fans from the visiting team didn’t see the umpires’ calls the way the umpires did. I, on the other hand, being a fan of the home team, fully agreed with each call the umpires made. It seems balls, strikes, tag outs, and force outs are also in the eye of the beholder.

Even if you are not a baseball fan—don’t go to little league, high school, college, professional games, or watch baseball on TV–I’m sure you get the point. The only people who are (in theory) objective observers at a baseball game are the umpires. And there is no guarantee they always get it right! (It’s the same with basketball, football, and other sports that have referees.)

The reality is that people don’t always “see” things the same way. My wife and I don’t always see things the same way. I don’t always see things the same way my friends, many politicians, or authors I read do. When people do not see something in the same way it doesn’t necessarily mean one is right and the other is wrong.

But that is not to suggest that everything is open to how one sees it. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, and so also may be many other things, but not everything is in the eye of the beholder. Some things are true and right; some things are false and wrong. The error of postmodernism is the premise that there is no absolute truth—no moral right and wrong.

While is it not really new, postmodernism has led to a wider acceptance of relativism. As the term indicates, relativism holds there is no such thing as absolute truth and all viewpoints are equally valid—everything is relative. Christianity, of course, rejects relativism.

But going back to the eye of the beholder, some things are obviously relative. Everything is not totally objective—some things are subjective. Preferences with regard to pizza toppings, hobbies, vacation spots, music, and many other things are relative.

The challenge for us is to not confuse what is absolute with what is relative. What is true and right is true and right; and what is false and wrong is false and wrong. But the way you and I see a lot of things is not necessarily either true and right or false and wrong. You may not agree that what I think is beautiful really is beautiful. Our preferences are relative. Can we keep that in mind?

Feel free to share these thoughts on social media and I welcome comments below.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/39596075@N04/21228727549″>13092015_Arbitrage_Compilation_10</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

 

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