All the complaints about a film that shows just the faeces-covered underside of India, brings up the point-of-view issue again.
On a few occasions, I have taken an outstation visitor around Mumbai. Everyone sees something different — a foreigner sees the amazing variety of architecture, a villager sees the temples and is impressed by the spirituality in a seemingly materialistic town; And a person from another city compares the malls and pubs.
But everyone sees what he or she wants to. This again confirms the ‘glass half- full’ or ‘half-empty’ view of life. It’s not simply a matter of optimism versus pessimism, it’s just that some people see something positive in all situations, and some will find fault in perfection.
Take the small things in everyday life, a meal for instance. Some will appreciate whatever is served and be thankful for the occasion to meet and have dinner together; and there will be one who will complain that there’s extra salt in the food, the potatoes are overcooked, the curry is too spicy, and generally ruin the meal for everyone.
On a day with particularly rotten weather, everyone will be cursing and whining about the heat and mugginess, and there will be one person who will look out of the window and point at a sky full of stars visible on a clear night. One sees clouds gathering, the other sees the spectacular sunset.. one suffers a thunderstorm, the other looks for a dramatic streak of lightning.
Sitting on the grass, one from a group of picnickers will grumble about the ants and flies while everyone else is enjoying the flowers and the sheer joy of feeling the cool, damp grass under their feet. One will look at the humbleness of a tiny dwelling, another will exclaim at the care and pride with which the homemaker has decorated the house and matched the bedsheets with the curtains.
There is, of course, a third kind of person, who goes through life without noticing anything at all. But of the other two kinds, it’s hard to say, which kind of person is better — the person who just sees the good side of everything is so content that he or she never does anything constructive, but don’t do anything destructive either.
On the other hand, maybe the constant grumblers are occasionally moved to action and do something to improve the circumstances that bother them.
The third kind just takes everything for granted, good or bad, and goes through life without even noticing sunrises, flowers and silver linings.. they don’t even see the glass, never mind if it is half-full or half-empty.