Looking through the single window
In “The Great Gatsby”, Nick Carraway asserts, “life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.”
And that has been driving me nuts. Okay so it’s fiction, he’s just a narrator blah blah – but I find myself wondering whether or not this is a sensible idea.
I wrote a poem before called “Frames of Reference” about this idea – in response to the quote: “Of the multiplication of frameworks there shall be no end” R Barnett.
As a society, we have to live with an infinite proliferation of perspectives – but, as individuals – is life “much more successfully looked at from a single window”? That does seem to be where I ended up with my poem – as I stick my head through my ‘frame’ of reference and all I can see it “Truth”.
I supposed it depends whether that single perspective makes one blinkered. Or perhaps focused.
Then my mind leaps onto the Radley porch.
On the Radley porch, Scout Finch suddenly sees things from Boo’s point of view – at least, she can imagine what Boo would have seen while standing there. This crystalises for her the importance of human sympathy. By her literally standing there, she gets as near as she can to metaphorically walking in his shoes – she has learned to consider other people’s points of view.
She has learned that you have to look through other windows.
But, “life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all”.
And from there I arrive back at the “path of beauty” idea – where you put yourself in someone else’s shoes to learn what they see from there.
If anyone has followed that, I’m impressed.
Does that mean you are looking at the world from my porch? Or are you on my hastily constructed “path of beauty”? Or, have you got your own single window – and you’re looking at this objectively?