It's very hard to train our intuition to have an increasingly broad perspective. In the first world, we are pushed instead to have an increasingly narrow perspective, a specialization. To get perspective on the world outside of our specialization, we can't just read our favorite news and analysis sources and 'go along', because those are not our perspectives. They belong to other people. And one should be suspicious of someone who says something dogmatically, or who repeats things that 'everyone knows'. Don't let their insistence, which is perhaps their genuine conviction, persuade you. Persuasion of that kind is indeed a kind of violence, because you have to resist it to judge it. Still, we must resist the rhetoric, the conformity, the charisma, the group they're in, and the track-record of the messenger. The actual arguments must be considered on their own merits.

There are some things in life that provide us perspective just by existing. Certainly this is most true of nature itself, of which we are only an aspect. The more we can learn about nature, the better our perspective may be, if we are careful about our various innate dogma-inducing human tendencies. These can be overcome with humility and sensitivity. It's a sensibility. Literally. The word 'sensibility' comes from a Greek word that Aristotle used to describe perception, as in 'the senses and perception' or 'sense and sensibility'. And perception is where we work hardest on broadening our intuition: our senses can't be much improved (well, they can a little), and our cognition needs to mostly be trained to stay out of the way while our perception is at work, so that our subconscious can use its findings to actually generate ideas and deliver judgments to our consciousness. So it's perception that we are often trying to provide perspective to.

Although they aren't necessarily separate from nature, there are plenty of human artifacts-and-ideas that provide perspective. Some of them are rather surprising.

Speaking of training your intuition: pay most attention when you are surprised at what people say. It doesn't matter whether they are wrong or not. If you look closely at your own surprise, and the cause of it, you will always learn something.

Here's an example of one human artifact, or institution, whose very existence broadens our perspective. I'm not saying it's the biggest or most important, or anything like it. I'm just surprised how much perspective can be broadened just by considering its existence.

I'm talking just now about the 'one big union', the IWW, or the Industrial Workers of the World. It inspired this essay for the several reasons, but here's one:

There are 5 million deaths a year globally due to climate change. The richest countries of the global north are responsible for 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, including proxy emissions by making poorer countries do our factory work (much to everyone's detriment). Also, the global north consistently extracts 40 times as much wealth from the global south than any value or cash it delivers to the global south. In other words, the rich countries are responsible for global poverty, as well as poverty in their own countries. Which leads to death. It is a continuous extractive occupation, and it is violent, because it kills more people than even the horror and criminality of war.

How to stop this? Well, we could join a global union of workers.

This means we in the first world would join together to fight the exploitation of the third world, whether that's supporting worker power, fair trade, equity, peace, or cooperative ownership.

All of which are the direction we need to move to resolve most of the world's problems.

Now, I'm not saying the IWW will save us. I'm just saying that its existence gives us perspective on the world's problems. If we all join together in one big union, we can overcome the militarists, the executives, the plutocrats, the autocrats, the profiteers, etc.

It's just something to consider, when looking for human artifacts that provide genuine perspective on our relationship to nature, and our individual and institutional behavior towards each other.

Greg Bryant