Contradictory Points of View

Swami Vivekenanda had great insight into differing points of view:

“We know there may be almost contradictory points of view of a thing, but they all point to the same thing.  Suppose a man is journeying towards the sun and as he advances he takes a photograph of the sun at every stage.  We see that no two are alike; and yet who will deny that all these are photographs of the same sun, from different standpoints?

In the same way, we are all looking at truth from different standpoints, which vary according to our birth, education, surroundings, and so on.  We are viewing truth, getting as much of it as our circumstances will permit, coloring it with our own feelings, understanding it with our own intellects, and grasping it with our own minds.  We can know only as much of truth as is related to us, as much of it as we are able to receive.  This makes the difference between man and man and sometimes even occasions contradictory ideas.  Yet we all belong to the same great truth.”

 – from a lecture at the Universalist Church, Pasadena, California, January 28, 1900