Thursday, May 11, 2006

2063km : Perspective

The odometer was on 2063km when the thought came to me that perspective is more fundamental than opinion. Now most philosophers will wonder what I'm going on about, but to me it was quite a meaningful thought.

I was busy driving back from the provincial traffic authority where I had to pay R160,00 penance for allowing 5 students to use my Green Mamba (Ford Tracer) to go to a religious meeting sometime last November (See previous blog entry).

I was in a rather unpleasant and depressed mood; not really because I had to kiss some hard earned (that is what I would like my boss to believe) money goodbye; but mainly due to one of those major relationship problems that tend to happen to marriages. Despite this unpleasant mood, I had to lift my helmet visor once or twice at the traffic lights because I was struggling to control my laughter.

When I handed over the cheque to the cashier my eye had caught one of those letters that are written by people who feel the fines they received were unfair or too harsh. It was one short paragraph, which I will do my best to quote here:

I refer to the fines mentioned above. I would like to apologise for my shortsighted and reckless driving. I had not considdered [sic] the possible consequences of these misdemeanors and assure you that I have now learned that I need to drive more carefully in the future. I kindly request you to cancel these fines as they amount to quite a lot of money and my budget is quite small and cannot accomodate them.
I decided to look at the name, and, amazingly(!), there I saw the name of somebody who lives on the same campus as me. I even memorised his ID-number so that I could prove to him that I've seen it, should it be necessary :-).

I found that submission very humerous. I can imagine the irritation of the prosecuting authority who needs to consider this appeal. I wonder what his/her opinion would be of the submission. And then I thought of the submission that I had written explaining why R300 was too much for me to pay for a student's offense, and felt quite grateful that it was reduced to R160. As the traffic light turned green, I dropped my visor and thought: "It's all a matter of perspective." And in a moment it solved my issues about my relationship problems.

Conflict result from strongly held opinions. These opinions are not always right. The reason why they are not always right is because they are based on some less specific and more general perspectives. If I can develop the ability to critically sort through perspectives, I would not need to hold on to strong opinions which hurt the relationship.

I have an idea that the best way to ensure that perspectives do not prematurely lead to strong opinions is to develop a sense of humour. I really need to laugh a little bit more at the "serious" situations that I find myself in. I really should not take things too seriously. Play with perspectives. It will make me a happier person.

I sincerely hope that the prosecuting authority will have the same opinion when he reads the above submission.


Michelle said...

Prosecuting authorities are not known for their sense of humour. I think it's a requirement when applying for a government job that you not only are extremely serious, but love red tape, infinitely-postponed deadlines, sour dispositions and incompetence.

And should a prosecuting authority read this, I trust he will not come after me... :)

Weiers said...

I have not yet blogged about the fact that I bought the motorbike in December 2005, but only got the license to drive it in March 2006. :-)

Michelle said...

My brother has a Vespa (being the uber-brand-concious type). Bought 5 years ago. Still no licence...

Weiers said...

A Vespa! Ugh! Who wants a Vespa when you can have a Gomoto :-).

(please don't get offended. Your brother has a good bike. I'm just still very happy with my gomoto at the moment :-).