Seeing Things Differently

We started up the trail, meeting other couples along the way with looks of dread and needfulness cast on their faces, exchanging glances with us as they passed that echoed a shared sense of knowing,  a reordering of priorities.

–Frank Beck, The Parallax

Searching For Things
“My dad said, the way I saw the world was a gift.”  The words of Oskar Schell, the child who captivated us in the best-selling book and Academy Award nominated “Best Picture of 2011,” Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, resonate with all of us.   We are all searching for something and like Oskar we begin to understand that having the key doesn’t immediately help us know what can be unlocked.  Oskar’s quest “pushes our emotional buttons.”  We recognize ourselves in his need to find things.  We understand his yearning.  We share his emotion.

Shared Emotions
Clarence, a character in The Parallax, recognizes this fact when he says, “You could have been anywhere and affected by 9/11.” That day was a watershed moment for everyone, regardless of their location.  Think about it.  Most of us can describe in vivid detail what we were doing when we learned of the terrorist attack and how we reacted to it.  I, personally, was waiting for a commuter train at the Memorial Hospital Metrolink station in Belleville, Illinois. I remember the emotions of the people riding the train, interacting with one another as they had never done before.  It was as if we were a family and had just learned that other members of our family had been hurt. I don’t think I’d ever experienced the sharing of emotions that occurred that day.  I suspect that nearly everyone has a story of what they were doing on September 11th, 2001, because that day will forever be part of our social consciousness.

Finding Things
Brad Paisley tells us in his hit song, Find Yourself, that although we may go through life thinking we know who we are, it is when we are lost that it is most possible to find yourself. Frank and Sarah, characters in The Parallax, were married for twenty-five years.  Did they really know one another?  Do you really know who you are? Frank and Sarah found themselves in a distant place, the Colorado Rockies, when their world was shaken. I thought about the many ways that 9/11 might have impacted people on that day, and used the tragic event as a backdrop for my story, The Parallax.  I sensed that although everyone was impacted differently, readers could connect with the shared experience of that horrific day.  You don’t need the events of 9/11 to “find yourself.”Use the gift of seeing things differently. Discover what’s important to you. Embark on the journey, identifying those things you value, the places you enjoy, the things you treasure, and, most importantly, the people you care about; and envision your life in a new way.

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55 thoughts on “Seeing Things Differently

  1. The Parallax, a story within a story within a story, tells many different things. Most importantly, it tells us how much people suffer unnecessarily, simply because they fail to grasp other perspectives than their own. Frank Beck misinterprets the situation surrounding his father’s death so that he will walk through life with the guilt of being responsible for it. Frank Beck also misinterprets the situation when his wife’s illness becomes apparent only to establish a marital disconnect that will last for decades. One could say that much sorrow comes from misinterpreting the expressions and reactions of others. Communication with others receives an additional meaning – it should serve as provider of multiple angles at the same setting. Someone else’s viewpoint can rectify much, just as can introspection (does it have to be written?). As a result we may leave old and obsolete positions. The story shows us that this is frequently prompted by events that overwhelm us with emotions. I’m convinced that events of much, much smaller scale than 9/11 can trigger us to discover the parallax!

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  3. Parallax not only brought me back the memory of 9/11 but also gave me a better perspectives of what others must have gone through. Reading the book gave me a truly vivid indirect experience of what’s like to have someone in your family to be at the scene of the terrorism. This book was more than just description of the over all event/experience; it guides you to see things differently apart from being angry, fearful or confused from the situation that’s happening around us.

  4. I agree with other readers of the parallax in that the author has created a very intriguing story and one that can bring goose bumps to your arms because of the reality. We all can connect to the setting because everyone remembers what they were doing on 9/11. It is very easy to connect to the personal struggles of the Beck family and even those struggles of those who attended the writing seminar. I felt as though I was a part of the family watching the tv in the cabin and also there at the seminar relating my personal experiences with the members at my table. Seeing yourself with new understanding can take on many meanings but I believe that it is truly in regards to accepting truths and realties even if that decision is one of unpopular consequences. Emotion can get the best of you and truth can be your immediate enemy because of negative perceived consequences. On the other side it is also your long term solution to peace and harmony. Sometimes it takes deep insight to realize that the truth is the correct path and this deep insight can sometimes only be brought out in therapeutic writing sessions. Writing for therapeutic purposes is like singing in the shower, it allows you to express yourself without the doubts of immediate harsh criticisms.

  5. The Parallax, a story within a story, explains the emotional connection we have with each other. “A personal story set on a day of such international magnitude adds to the story’s power because it demonstrates how layered our experiences are and how connected we are to each other.” This quote from the Parallax really hit home for me. I never really realized how connected we are as human beings. On 9/11, we all felt the same pain, sorrow, and shock when we watched the two twin towers fall to the ground. We all shared the same heart-breaking emotions watching the planes hit, the people jump, and crumbled debris. We will forever be connected with one and another by the tragic event engraved in our consciousness.

  6. Reading this book and post really did bring me back to that 9/11 moment. I remember walking into my 2nd period study hall during freshman year and then noticing the TV being on. It was unusual to have it on at that time since they usually only turned it on for channel 1 news earlier in the morning. I then noticed the picture of the burning buildings staring me in the face. Not knowing how to react, I looked around me to see students of all ages staring at the TV, looking as dumbfounded as I was. I remember that the event made me really appreciate what I had and the people I had in my life. The event was sobering to the point that it made me re-evaluate the things that mattered in my life even at that young age and brought me closer to my family.

  7. It’s crazy to think how parts of a story can trigger certain memories. The Parallax places emphasis on thinking from another person’s perspective which is something I think we rarely do. I know it is not always something that crosses my mind. I agree that we can all connect to this story in some way because we could all tell you what we were doing when we found out about 9/11. Although I don’t think I will ever forget that day at school, I’ve never stopped to think about that day from another person’s perspective. I can see how writing would be therapeutic because all of the examples in the book made me think of other people’s points of view in the same situation. It is a very insightful process and can ultimately make you see things differently.

  8. I really enjoyed the Parallax because it made me think a lot from reading such a short story. While reading the book, it was amazing to see that there can be so many different views from just one incident. I remember the expression that I had when I saw the two huge identical buildings standing grandly in front of my eyes when I was seven while touring NYC with my family. But seeing the Twin towers crashing down by the plane through the news was such a shock. So reading the story of how 9/11 changed Frank and Sarah’s life completely was really different from what I had experienced.
    Also, reading about the writing workshop also helped me realize that writing can help seeing things in different views. One story from the workshop that stroked me the most was Nicole’s grandpa story. Nicole realized that she was selfish of thinking how she’s going to miss him so much and in pain after losing him and she understood how much pain her grandpa went through by writing the story in his point of view. I realized that writing is so important for seeing things differently and also can be therapeutic for not only for other people but for the writer.

  9. The reference to 9/11 was easy for me to relate to. I can definitely remember the moment I heard the news. I was sitting in my 7th grade social studies class, and one of my friends had just come back to class from a doctor’s appointment. She turned to me and told me what had happened. At twleve years old, I was still very naive and saw the world through the eyes of a child. I remember talking to my parents about what had happened, and I didn’t understand. Evil hadn’t existed in my world until that day. 9/11 opened my eyes to the rest of the world and to the fact that while there was good, there is bad waiting to bring it down too.

  10. I very much agree with the idea that different perspectives are important in events that take place throughout someones life. Many people I feel go through life without taking into consideration the thoughts of other unless there is some sort of tragedy that brings people together. The book was interesting in how to conveyed the idea of thinking about events from other perspectives through writing. The people that wrote thoughts of family members who were lost allowed them to see beyond their own loss and think about what that family member was losing too. I believe that everyone needs to remember when they interact with anyone else or even just actions they may take do affect the people they know or interact with.

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  12. . September 11, 2011 was an important day in American history and everyone alive on that day is forever connected. However, like many, prior to this book I really only thought of it through one perspective – my 7th grade, 12 year old, naïve perspective. To me it was something new and terrifying and I was not personally affected by it. However, through reading this book it has caused me to start to think things through other people’s perspectives. This is because we all experienced the terrifying realization that as Americans we are not safe, but, for some, this was more personal. The realization that others were more affected than me really hit home when I visited New York City over spring break and was able to pay my respects to Ground Zero/The 9/11 Memorial Center. I was moved as I was walking around the site and watching some of the videos inside the visitor center because after reading this book I had begun to try to see events and ideas through other people’s minds and was able to see how this not only affected me in one way but it affected another person in a completely different way since they had lost someone in the attacks. I think it is important to view things from other perspectives and put yourself in their shoes.

  13. As a pharmacist, it is very helpful to be able to see things in a different perspective. Over time, it can help you build an understanding of how your patients view their healthcare. By developing your ability to see different perspectives, you would be able to see different connections. It can help you develop examples to use to educate patients. It can also help you address patient’s concerns by identifying the perspective.

  14. I definitely agree with all those who commented. The Parallax got me to sit and reflect on 9/11 and how I truly felt on that day. This is something that I have not done in a long time. It made me realize that even though we, as humans, are all so distinct and different we are all connected through this one terrible act of terrorism. That connection is astounding to me because it is on an emotional level. It doesn’t matter who you are, the majority of people all feel the same way about 9/11 and can relate to it. The Parallax also got me to think if I really knew myself, let alone those I consider close to me. As Frank searches for himself and the meaning of his relationship with Sarah, I found myself looking deep into myself and the relationships that I value most. A story that can bring such introspection in truly remarkable.

  15. The Parallax was able to successfully build a parallel between a short story and the relationships and emotions we experience throughout life. Within just a few minutes of reading the book, I had already made a connection emotionally. It was almost scary how much I could relate to this book and its outlook on life in general. “As you go about your day, these memories consume you; regret, guilt, pain, and grief drift over you like disconnected shadows.” Every day we try to live in the future and forget our past it seems. I was able to make a connection between the emotions I was experiencing as well as the characters in the book with the 9/11 incident. This book was an easy read and really allowed me to reflect on my past and to view certain aspects from a better perspective than I previously had. With the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, people grieved together and experienced an emotional connection. We came together as a country and endured the tragic event together. That is something that can never be taken away.

  16. This book moved me deeply. I try to go day by day living my life trying to understand and connect will people emotionally. I try to forget the trivial things in life that seem to stress everyone. People seem to forget other people’s point of views and see past the suffering with the lack of empathy. However, no one cannot escape that pivotal time in their life where they see the world differently. It usually comes when someone close to them dies and nothing in life is certain except for death. It is then when people start to see others in a different light and seem to acknowledge what they are going through. Most people today seem to be desensitized to things that are going around the world. People often forget that we are human and best thing you can offer to one another is be a humanitarian. However, people think being a humanitarian is about action and doing something for others. In reality, one merely needs to acknowledging others’ suffering, to have empathy. Once people realize this and reflect on this then it will automatically change their life and everything around them for the better. It is obvious that there are people in the world that lack the ability to understand this, however, as stated before, it will come, usually with a person close to them dying.
    I wish people could understand what other people were going through without coming to a preconceived generalization. I cannot blame them really because society has molded those ideas in their brain. They seem to see the surface rather than looking deeper to connect and that is where the humanitarianism suffers. Without the acknowledgement of others’ emotions and feeling, we lose what makes us essentially human. We lose that connection with others and then we see all the troubles that stress us. The idea of this is a depressing thought but I do not see it as something that depresses me. I see it as part of life. We can choose to ignore it but we cannot escape it. Once we start to connect and empathize with others then we will realize who we really are.

  17. I completely agree with the article above. I can still remember what I was doing when I learned of the attacks. I was in 6th grade and just got to third period chorus. We had just sat in our seats when our principal came on the PA system to explain what was happening. At first I felt like I was in a dream but then I remember feeling really confused and angry as to why someone would want to do such a thing, a feeling which I am sure was shared by many Americans that day. Even in the wake of a tragedy, there was appositive aspect to the whole situation as the tragedy helped to give everyone a new perspective, causing people to have a new appreciation for life and to now see their biggest life problems as trivial. Although 9/11 caused many people to be angry and sad, the emotions shared by everyone brought together an entire nation.

  18. The Parallax can mean many different things to each individual reading the story, but as I was reading, I couldn’t help but identify with many of the characters’ struggles written throughout the book. It is important to understand that every individual, both in the book and in reality, is fighting his or her own battle. But until we take the time to change our perspective on that individual’s and our own personal conflicts, we will not find a resolution. From the book, the characters were able to lessen their own struggles by writing about anything that was one their mind; this could range from a memory, an object, a relationship, etc. Then, each was encouraged to vocally communicate his or her writings in front of one another. This form of therapy relieved and ensured all of the participants that bothersome situations occur commonly, and it is the proactive approach of their attitudes that encourages the individuals to become more effective. Ultimately, perspective is everything and allows the individual to understand others’ struggles, whether close contacts or complete strangers, and it also enables the individual to overcome his or her own personal adversities. Therefore, with a change of perspective, self-worth is improved, relationships are strengthened, and society benefits as a whole.

  19. While reading the Parallax, it brought back the memory of 9/11 for me as well. I don’t think anyone can forget what they were doing at that exact moment because it is one of the tragic events we have lived through in history. I still remember that I was in 6th grade and I was heading to my first class when the televisions in the school started showing the news. Everyone just stood still with a different expression on their face. While some were shocked to hear the news, others were worried about their families in New York, but mostly everyone was terrified and couldn’t believe what they just saw. This tragic event definitely made me see things differently and I started to appreciate things in my life. We need to look at things with a different perspective, but I don’t think that we need a tragic event in our lives to see things differently. I agree with the other post, where someone said that as a pharmacist we need to look at things differently and have an open mind to help a patient who will probably have different views on things in life compared to you.

  20. Just like everyone, I can remember 9/11 almost in explicit detail. However, I was only in 6th grade – a 12 year old. My school didn’t inform us of what was going on since they thought it’d be better heard from our parents. And even when my mom told me in the car what happened, I didn’t completely understand. I had thought a plane had flown BETWEEN the towers.. not INTO them. At the time, it didn’t feel like my world was shaken. I had never been to NYC so it felt like a world away. All of the crashes that day weren’t close to me. It wasn’t until later that night that it started to hit home. I saw how upset my brothers and parents were. I saw the look of sadness and grief of those on the TV. It was the first time in my life that I had really thought about how big the world was yet how closely knit we all were to each other. It completely changed my perspective on life, just like it changed Frank and Sarah.

  21. One lesson I took away from this read was the importance of viewing things from someone else’s perspective. We tend to be one-dimensional and sometimes jaded in our daily lives. Very rarely do we place ourselves in another’s shoes. This is unfortunate because we lose the human connection when we fail to acknowledge other’s feeling and emotions. However, by overcoming this barrier we are able to understand one another’s struggles and even overcome our own as well. When we establish these connections, relationships are strengthened, higher levels of emotional intelligence are achieved, and personal effectiveness is maximized.

  22. While reading this book, I experienced a situation that paralleled Frank and Sarah’s search for self-identity; and the question: “Do you know who you really are and where you are going?” Life plans can change in the blink of an eye, sometimes before you are prepared and equipped to handle it. The sudden change in plans can turn your whole world upside down and cause you question who you really are, what you truly value, and sometimes even question what your greater purpose is. Although it is easy to allow your emotions to consume your thoughts during a difficult time, it is important to take a step back and objectively look at the situation. Although it is easier said than done, writing things down is a way of looking at the situation objectively, and allows one to contemplate various aspects or viewpoints about the situation they may not be able to consider when ruled by their emotions. After looking at the situation objectively, you are able to evaluate the choices that lead you to this point and consider how to improve yourself for the future.

  23. “Use the gift of seeing things differently.” This concept is too easily forgotten. Too much of our lives are going through the motions. We wake up, starting our day with a normal routine, go to work/school just to come home again to go to sleep and start over. Our focus is really on one thing; to get through the day, the week, the month, the year. As a 5th year student, I’m only now realizing that most of my time spent during the past years is just getting by. Focusing on studying to pass my classes, to gain my degree. With nearing my final year, I’m beginning to look at my life differently. Taking in the perspective of a newly graduated student ready to go out into the workforce and start a new part of my life. My moods change from terror, excitement, nervous, etc. Through reading the Parallax, I’ve realized what I’m really doing. I’m gaining insight into who I am. I’m realizing my priorities and the goals I have for myself based on my beliefs and values. I’ve always loved reading. I think it’s mainly because of the feeling I have once I’ve finished the book, and now can truly define. I experienced the perspective of the narrative. I’ve learned their values and morals. They’re always different then mine. I can compare what my decisions would have been if I was the main character to what they did. I am able to understand myself just a little bit better. However, reading a book feels much safer then learning about yourself while anticipating the future. In books, you have an ending to fall back onto. In reality, you have to rely on what you know of yourself and learn the rest as you go.

  24. On Shared Emotions:
    Shared emotions, as described by many stories relating to 9/11, specifically those involved with public areas, results in a very unusual emotional openness to otherwise complete strangers. For instance, I specifically remember my homeroom teacher crying on that day. Now she wasn’t a complete stranger, but she was still expressing an emotion that would normally be uncharacteristic for someone like herself on a normal day. She felt that she was in an environment in which sharing emotion on that level was appropriate. Many people felt this way, and I believe it is because we had a very real, very rare, emotional connection with those around us; the kind of connection that brings together complete strangers. Such was the case (eventually) for many people attending the workstation set up by Ryan in The Parallax. They came to emotionally connect with Frank through his story, and consequently, open up to a room full of complete strangers, because they all shared that emotional connection. Sometimes we lose sight of how connected we actually are to one another, and it takes a catastrophic event to remind us. If we could instead be more concerned emotionally with others, we just might open up and learn something about ourselves.

  25. Seeing Things Differently:
    Taking the time to step back and think can change your perspective in a positive way. Reading this book, which touches on the revelation of subconscious feelings through writing, caused me to take a different approach to my future life as a pharmacist. The personal interactions and relationships I have built with customers over my years as a tech has caused me to realize that I enjoy that aspect of the job even more than the day-to-day, drug information aspect. My parents helped nudge me in the direction of choosing pharmacy as my career. I now know that they not only saw that I had the intellectual capability, but that I also had a desire to help others. Knowing that my loved ones see these qualities in me will definitely cause me to be more aware of my strength, which will in turn allow it to shine through in the future.

  26. On Seeing Things Differently:
    The book made me wonder about truth, and how we perceive it. The characters in the book have many different ways of seeing the same experience, and often viewing the same situation through another’s eyes can help certain people cope with difficult situations and past guilt; however, at what point does the truth of the matter become obscured? If a woman has a teenage pregnancy and forces her parents to raise the child, it may be true that they are disappointed in her. This does not imply that she mustn’t move past her prior mistakes at a certain period of time, but some guilt may be merited. I think we should be wary of seeing the world in ways that it could be as a substitute for how the world is.

  27. The Parallax is a book full of individuals experiencing life in new ways all because they changed their thinking a little bit. The story of exploring the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO hits home with me based on a recent vacation there. While hiking almost everyone else in the group was constantly checking their phones when we would stop to rest at various vistas while climbing the trail. This book made me realize that everyone of us on that trip should have keep our phones in our pockets so we could slow down and enjoy the views. In the book, the CEO, Kyle, at the writing workshop realized that if he just slowed down and enjoyed life he would be happier. I wish more people would leave their phones and all their appointments behind and just enjoy what is in the present rather than worrying about keeping busy and what lies ahead all the time. There are multiple perspectives on everything and people should enjoy what they have now rather than regretting neglecting it later on.

  28. Seeing Things Differently:
    This book helped me to realize that my perception on life will change depending on how I choose to view it. It’s all based on my decision on how I choose to see things. In the book, all the characters see the same situation differently. There’s no correct way of viewing things and there is no correct answer. If we happen to go through a hard trial, getting advice from someone else or seeing how they view it can help us. Also, it might be helpful for us to think about others and think from the other side before we judge. Learning to respect others and receiving/giving help from each other is important. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called present.” This is a quote from the movie, Kung Fu Panda. This quote teaches us that everyday we live is a gift and we should be grateful for the day that is given to us.

  29. I really loved how The Parallax inspires you to think outside your own head; whether we intend to or not, we often process the world around us through our own perspectives without considering those of the people around us. We don’t mean to be self-absorbed, but that’s the way it often turns out. Reading this book has inspired me to rethink some major moments in my life through the perspective of those around me. As an introvert, I spend most of my days stuck inside my own head. It’s good to have a reminder to get out now and again. While this principal applies to my personal life, it is especially important in the professional setting. Being able to take a step back and look at a problem from another person’s perspective is a valuable tool to have in any field with patient or people interaction.

  30. I normally don’t buy into things being able to change my opinions, as I’m a rather stubborn person. However, I felt more open to this when I got a portion into the book. I found myself somewhat taken aback by how I related to Frank in his relationship with Sarah. Not that I’ve ever been married for 25 years, but in relationships romantic and platonic I’ve always found myself making assumptions in my head about what is best. That I can help control or at least guide everything to make sure it’s right. I have a lot of disconnect between myself and those with whom I have relationships, as if we were looking at two completely different scenarios. I find myself not saying something that has needed to be said or not doing what has needed to be done for quite some time too many times. I often then kick myself for failing to have done so. I find myself failing to say what needs to be said, but also find myself saying the absolute worst thing, or at least at the worst time. While this relation isn’t life-changing in and of itself, it opened my normally very closed-minded frame of mind to trying to gain something from a type of work (self-help) I’ve been mentally so resistant to in the past. If I can gain something from this book, I’m sure many more can do so as well.

  31. The Parallax helped me recall that understanding different perceptions one may have on life and other events may affect their thoughts based upon the time, place, and what one saw. Furthermore, these perceptions are based upon how one chooses to see the events that occur within their life. I recall learning in high school that one must not view the world in their own eye, but also open their eyes to others. Most of my experience about understanding and applying others perceptions occurred during high school, and I still keep that mentality when talking to anyone. I had to talk to homeless people and understand their perceptions about life and reflect upon how their experiences fit within my life. That made me appreciate how much having a place to stay and a caring family is when you consider life as a homeless person. Also, I learned that respecting others and understanding their thoughts helps us understand what one may be going through, whether it be health related or not. By opening up our perceptions to others’ perception of the world, we can find relationships that may be more common than one might expect and learn to adapt to differences. This book also made me recall my perception of 9/11, which I found out later I could apply my view to a classmate who was actually in New York at the time and understand their perception of the event. This opened my perception of how 9/11 affected people across the country.

  32. I really connected with Clarence when he spoke about how distance wasn’t a factor in regards to how 9/11 impacted you. I was working at big Barnes and it was only 6 months before my wedding and in an instant everyone’s perspective on the world changed. I remember talking to patients, with whom I had been working for days, and really seeing them for the first time; as a person with a story outside of the hospital. Many had friends or family in New York, some had a connection of a more distant kind, but we all had a reaction. We were kinder that day, and in the weeks and months that followed, to our fellow man. It reminded me of Stephen Covey’s “aha” moment on the subway when he learned of the man and children whose wife/mom had just passed away. In those months that followed 9/11 we didn’t know who was still actively grieving or who was just beginning to realize the full effect. It affected choices my husband and I made for our wedding and honeymoon, where we wanted to live, where we wanted to work, etc. It effected every thought of every day. It was all encompassing. Every 9/11, I am brought immediately back to the way I felt in 2001. I am raw and emotional. I am more sensitive (with my own emotions) and how I treat others for I don’t know who is silently suffering. I see this same reaction in others, who were old enough to truly experience that day, as well. I wonder, why does it take the reminder of this day to be kinder, gentler and more forgiving of others? I am guilty of it every year and feel badly about it every year when I realize that I have gone back to my former (less forgiving) self. My hope, with the reading of this book, is that my paradigm shift can happen more consistently, without the reminder of that day.

  33. After reading the Parallax, I was reminded how just a little perspective can make a huge impact. Most people can remember where they were and what they were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001. For me, I was in 5th grade and really had little understanding what had occurred on that fateful morning, but what I did understand is that it caused people to bond and there was a sense of togetherness that day. However, something I never stopped to think about was that the same day could already be a significant day for other people, such as a wedding anniversary as in the Parallax. Then, it caused me to think about other holidays and how those days could coincide with birthdays and wedding anniversaries too. So often we focus on ourselves (such as our favorite holiday) and forget to stop and think of others (such as the same day being their birthday). Or put another way, a day that seems to have no significance to us can be a major day to someone else (such as the day a loved one died). Why is it we struggle to realize or notice the “other side of the story” or see things from a different point of view? Is it that we are “too busy” to notice? Perhaps. Or that we are hesitant to try? Maybe. Or maybe we just were not aware of the power of perspective until we experienced it ourselves. Just some thoughts. There is probably no one answer, but realizing what perspective can do is a good first step. Everyone has a story, but we can easily miss it or dismiss it, assuming that their story is the same as ours; the key is to not fall into that trap. I really appreciate how the Parallax touches on these aspects and challenges the reader to think beyond themselves.

  34. Once I finished reading The Parallax, I had a moment of realization. It’s not about what happens in your life, but how you perceive those events. There are many people in this world, such as the characters in this book, who go through many struggles. Sometimes they are very similar, but once succumbed within the struggle it is really hard to think clearly and realize others may be going through the same hardship. The power of perception can be massively impacted by the art of writing. As the characters in this book did, writing down your feelings and thoughts in a journal or diary can be very therapeutic. I believe if every person was able to write down anything and everything throughout their days, they would be able to view a certain event, positive or negative, in multiple ways and not have to waste time constantly worrying. This can actually relate very well to patient-centered care. If we are able to view situations in multiple ways, then when conversing with patients we are able to help them help themselves by creating new therapeutic action plans that benefit the patient, but also the healthcare provider’s goal for the patient. Additionally, this allows us to be more connected with the patient and help them see the many benefits to their overall health. To add on, writing is something I’ve carried on through a good majority of my life. It is one of the best stress relievers and once you’ve written down your thoughts it makes you feel as if you’ve released your feelings and are able to start fresh the next day. Also, it can be a great thing to go back on and look through to observe how you’ve changed as a person from the past to the present with regards to handling different situations and more. Sometimes it shocks me how one-sided some individuals can be, never opening up to new ideas or thoughts. Despite this, I believe all people have the ability to change their perception, but it just depends on their willingness to do so. Maybe each person has to go through an ultimate hardship to finally accept this concept, but I’m not sure; this is just a guess. Overall, I really enjoyed The Parallax; it not only made the reader think beyond their own thoughts, but also try to think about others perception. It allows you to realize that you are not alone in your struggle.

  35. While reading The Parallax, I became very frustrated by Kyle’s comment about 9/11. He said, “I’m sorry but unless you were there, it would be impossible for anyone to understand.” Making this comment was very disrespectful because even people who were not in New York City on 9/11 were still affected by it. Although I was in my 6th grade classroom in central Missouri when it happened, nowhere near New York City, I still remember someone explaining to us what had happened. And, I remember watching it on the news and wondering how people could be so cruel to murder so many innocent people. I was affected by it even though I was not in NYC.
    Also, I agree with the comment stating, “It was as if we were a family and had just learned that other members of our family had been hurt.” I believe this is true because 9/11 happened to everyone and everyone was connected by this devastating event. When all the rescue workers, including some who I knew personally, went to NYC to help out, I remember being so proud of all of them. I was proud that strangers could come together and help out other strangers; it brought everyone in the country closer, like a family. I believe every single person in the United States was affected by 9/11, even if they were not from NYC or did not know someone who was involved. No one can take away the heartache we feel from this tragedy or the unity it has created.

  36. Reading the book made me realize the importance of seeing things in a different perspective and putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. As future pharmacists, this is a really important skill to develop. To be successful pharmacists, we must be able to understand our patients’ emotions and struggles and provide the best patient-centered care. For example, pharmacists tend to group all non-compliant patients into one group, not realizing the reason why they are non-compliant. There could be all kinds of reasons why a patient might not be compliant. These include lack of transportation, lack of belief in the efficacy of the medication, side effects, cost, and many more. Without actively listening to our patients, we might treat all of them the same way and not realize the different struggles they face.

  37. The Parallax forced me to do something that I do not often do, it made me stop and think about my daily routine and actions. It is very easy to get caught up in my daily routine and not think and reflect about things happening in my life. When i did take a second to stop and think about life, I was able to come out with a deeper appreciation for life. I would recommend this book to a friend and I am glad I took the time to read it and reflect on it.

  38. It is easy to get caught up into only seeing the world through your own perspective or ‘lens’. The reason that I really connected with the Parallax is that it brought into focus how everyone sees the world from a different perspective. This past weekend I had a long conversation with a 6’10” man from Chicago and we got onto the topic about how him being tall has affected his life. He explained that being that tall, he sees the world differently because he had to adapt to his height in nearly all facets of his life as well as physically seeing the world different (from his height). He explained that he really didn’t even like being so very tall. It was in this conversation that I was brought back to this idea that everyone has their own perspective and quite often is much different than your own, much like the Parallax emphasizes.

  39. The Parallax got me thinking about how I go through everyday life. In my commute, I tend to avoid interacting with those around me. I think this ends up making me feel more isolated. Reflecting on The Parallax got me interested in having more interactions with people I don’t know. This is the way to learn about people, in general and specific people. I think this will make my day-to-day life more fulfilling.
    The passage about 9/11 made me think of where I was on that day. I was in my psychology class, watching along with everyone else in the school. I loved how everyone came together afterward to help each other out. I think in the past 13 years we have gotten away from this feeling and have become more isolated again. I think we should go back to going out of our way to help one another in our daily lives.

  40. In certain parts of the book, I felt like I had really established a connection with some of the characters. This was especially true when the character Dr. Stein agreed with Clarence about 9/11 being a watershed event and that you could have been anywhere and have been affected by the event. In particular, this quote reminded me of my own experience with 9/11, and how I woke up to go to school and saw on the news that two planes had collided into the Twin Towers. I had immediately dismissed the event as impossible and that it must have been an advertisement using special effects. My denial about the event was short lived and it was announced over the school intercom that such an event had transpired in New York. I felt personally affected by 9/11 when later after the identities of the hijackers had been revealed to be Muslim, there was backlash against the Muslim community. I remember hearing about how the mosque that I attended received hateful and threatening phone calls.

  41. The Parallax, a story within a story, made me step back and look at my daily interactions from a different perspective. It makes you think how you are being perceived by others and also how you think of others. I often wonder how others think of me and what I am doing to connect with them. I tend to forget that everyone has a different perspective and have gone through many things that I will never deal with throughout my life, but we also have many things in common and we can find many ways to find mutual connections.

  42. After reading The Parallax, I realized that I might be able to see my life and daily activities in a different perspective. This book had very good and detailed examples of how people changed viewpoints after reading about Frank and Sarah’s story. Some involved relationships, work, or the past that they cannot change. It seems like today that everyone doesn’t have time for anything. I find myself using that excuse too often, when in reality, I’m just not using my time wisely. This book makes you just want to stop time for bit so we can reflect on our lives, past or present. Here recently, our college has been facing 2 student deaths, one being my basketball teammate. It has really focused my attention on the “here and now” because life really is too short. Doing an analysis of yourself, like presented in this book, can help you re-focus and see what really is important in your life. Having that “a-ha” moment may just be what some people need to redirect their lives.

  43. After reading The Parallax, I was able to really Identify with Frank in the hiking story. It’s really easy to lose yourself and your closeness to others that are important in your life because of the monotony of things. You may even start to lack emotion in things that normally made you happy. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragedy for you to realize what is really important in your life and what really makes you happy.
    Having recently lost someone recently who was my best friend and that I considered a little brother, I have experienced a wide range of emotion: sadness, sorrow, anger, and regret. But, in the wake of this tragedy, I have been able to experience peace again when playing tennis: a sport that I had lost touch with in the years since playing in high school.
    While I have a reminder to never lose touch with the things I love, The Parallax has really helped me organize my thoughts around this tragedy and it will be permanently attached to my memory of my best friend. I believe it has helped me get to figuring out who I am again, and I hope this book is something that others can empathize with in finding themselves as well.

  44. Life is THE most complex concept in human existence. Many have tried to understand it, no one has gotten close. The thing about life is that it is full of different point of views. People usually can only see their own point of view because every person is unique and no one can truly understand how another person feels completely. Although because the high complexity of the brain, people do have the ability of empathy, which allows us to consider other point of views. Reading the parallax, I saw how I consider other points of views for most of my life. I love to read and because of this book I can understand the reason why I always felt better after reading because in one way it is a type of therapy. Instead of writing, I read other stories and use those characters mind set in my own situations. To see situations in a different light is hard, but that is because most of the time it brings realization to things that some people find hard to believe. So whenever I am upset or angry, I read. My form of therapy has allowed me to think over situations in my head and work them out instead of internalizing my feelings and brooding.

  45. The Parallax continuously shifted different point-of-views throughout the story. The story consisted roller coaster of emotions, eventually leading to understanding of oneself and the world. After reading the story, I looked back my emotional connection with people around me. Little did I know they impacted my feelings and my life so much. I habitually question myself about what others would think of me but I tend to ignore that everyone has different point-of-view. Within each person’s different perspective, we tend to find mutual connections. This book made me think outside of my fixed idea and gave me a message of to not let go things I care and love. Also, I realized how much writing can be a method of healing and clearing up thoughts as Dr. Rickert refers to as “therapeutic writing”

  46. Like many of the commenters above, I can remember exactly where I was when I learned of the news of 9/11. I was in my 4th grade reading class. My teacher had stepped out for coffee, returned, turned on the TV, and told us to look what was happening to our country. I remember being scared that something else was going to happen even closer to my home. This was truly a major event in my life in that it reminded me that bad events can happen to anyone at any time. You can never be 100% safe. I remember how my close-knit community became even closer in the days and weeks to come. Between my junior and senior years of high school, I was able to go to Washington, D.C. As part of this trip, I visited the memorial at the Pentagon and saw the rebuilt section of the building where the plane hit. Even after several years, the emotions I felt came rushing back. I remember the other students in my tour group had very similar experiences to my own–ranging from anger to grief to patriotism. Seeing the names and the faces of the men and women killed on that day really put things into perspective. Many people’s lives were changed forever on that day.

  47. The Parallax was a very thought provoking read. It made me think about the times in my life where a change in perspective completely changed my feelings about a situation, whether it be from anger to acceptance, or from sadness to gladness. The Parallax also made me think about my outlook on life. Life is what you make of it. Whatever life throws at you, if you deal with the right mindset you will have a positive experience out of it. Recently, something happened that made me reevaluate my life and what really mattered. Things that I thought were important started to become not as important as devoting my time to things that really mattered to me. The Parallax reminded me to take a moment, look back, and get my priorities in line.

  48. I remember where I was during 9/11 very vividly. I was 9 years old and was late to school for some kind of doctors appointment. I can relate to this concept because throughout that day I received so many emotions from people I had deemed “strong”. That day I saw my aunt break down and cry, and I watched a bunch of teachers and parents freak out in a way I’d never seen adults do. The concept shook me because up until that point, I’d only ever seen adults be strong and children freak out. Looking at that now, I can see that I was shaken by seeing adults as actual people with fears and emotions. Now, I am one of those adults and I can see their perspective so much clearer, because it is my perspective now too.

  49. September 11, 2001 is a day that I remember very well. I was sitting in my 3rd grade classroom, Mrs. Yount’s class. All of a sudden the principal came over the intercom saying, “Teachers, please turn your TVs on and tune into the news channel.” However, being in 3rd grade, I did not exactly know what was occurring. All I knew was that it was bad, very bad. I could tell by other’s emotions, especially the teachers at the elementary school. All of the adults at the time were trying to keep calm so that the children would not turn the school into complete chaos. I remember thinking, what is going to happen next? Are we in danger? I was so confused. When I came home, my parents reacted the same way. They wanted to keep from “scaring” me, so they told me as little information as possible. It wasn’t until many years in the future that I actually understood what took place that day and what it was all about. The Parallax was able to catch my attention and make memories of that day come back. I discovered at a young age what was important to me and over the years I have discovered more things that are important as well. I have allowed these significant things to guide my journey through life. I believe that each individual will have specific and unique things that they find important in life. They may not realize what they treasure most right away, but with time many events, people, or places will help them to understand what is most significant to them as an individual.

  50. Reading this book really made me connect and relate to stories instead of just thinking about them. This story brings a lot of the readers back to what they were doing on 9/11, but it brings me back to my honeymoon. My husband and I went to the Great Smoky Mountains for our honeymoon. We didn’t do any real hiking, but it just brought me back to the beauties of nature. It also brought me back to a time before “life” happened and when things were so carefree. It made me realize how often things that are not important get in the way of our relationships and happiness.

  51. It often takes a horrific event like September 11, 2001 to realize what really matters in your life. In my opinion, the author used this tragedy in the context of this story to create a parallax. While something so tragic and devastating was happening in the country, Frank and Sarah were finding out about their relationship even after 25 years of marriage. I think one of the many messages of this story is to figure out who you are and where your relationships stand without needing a tragic event to bring you to it. Throughout the story, Franks recalls his most emotional memories from his life (his father’s death, the Elvis concert where he met Sarah, and their previous hiking trip to Emerald Lake). Frank used 9/11 to see things differently and open up to Sarah. This story illustrates the effect that holding emotions in can have on a person’s closest relationships. It is important to open up to the people closest to you and find out who you really are without needing a tragic event to coax you into it.

  52. “You could have been anywhere and affected by 9/11.” This statement speaks to me. Even though I was pretty young when it happened and don’t remember a lot about it, I still feel the effects of it. I had a similar experience with a reader above. Being a Muslim, there was an increased amount of negative attention toward us. Somehow we were all held responsible for the acts of a few extreme individuals who definitely do not represent our religion. I remember hate crimes and threatening messages at our place of worship. I wish more people were able to put themselves in our shoes and realize that we, too, are Americans, and we hurt just as much as the others whenever there are attacks on our country and our people. On 9/11, there were many Muslims who died saving others and many Muslims who were victims of the attack. Even today, I still feel the negative effects of that incident. But for me, the positive thing that came out of all of it was that now I have no trouble putting myself in other peoples’ shoes for different everyday situations because I know what it feels like to not be understood. This is also really important for our profession, as well. We have to be able to connect and understand our patients. We have to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and get to know their struggles on a deeper level.

  53. There are many things in life that can change your perspective on life. One day, like the characters in the story, I was hiking, only I was with my father. Taking in the beauty of the landscape and the vastness of the view from the peak that we had just climbed was enough to make me think. But most of my thoughts were not the same type of thoughts as what I usually have in my busy cluttered mind, but instead were more about peace and the beauty of the world. It was a time that I truly felt at home. On the other end of the spectrum, about a month after my experience in the woods with my father, I was in a car accident. I hit a deer, lost control of my car, rolled over three times, hit a tree and then got fit a fence. The car behind me called 911 and by the time they arrived I had gotten out of the car and was left starring at the wreckage of my car. Disbelief washed over me as I realized that I was not only alive, but I had no major injuries. When the ambulance arrived they told me that I was lucky to be alive and that when people are in accidents like the one that I was in they don’t usually walk away from it. That day changed me and made me realize that life is fragile and I have tried to spend my time here since that day trying to help as many people as I can. I felt blessed or lucky, whatever word you choose to assign to the feeling. However, recently I read an article about a sixteen year old boy who was in a similar accident as me: Lost control of the car, it rolled, hit a tree. The main difference is that I walked away with a concussion and he didn’t walk away at all. Reading this made me realize how blessed/lucky I really was but also gave me a feeling of sorrow that the kid did not have the same outcome as me. Spending the summer “hiking” and in my accident taught me that life is truly beautiful and has sights that are breathtaking, however, it is not always fair. It is important to always keep your mind open to change and be willing to “see things differently” because circumstances change, and so too should our mindsets.

  54. For the longest time I was trying to find out who I really was. I saw people who had gone through traumatic experiences say it changed their life for the better. The experience gave them a new perspective on life and they found their place. As bad as it sounds, I was often jealous of these people. I thought to myself, “all I need is something traumatic and I’ll find my purpose.” Luckily, I have yet to have such an experience in my life, but I have since found what kind of man I want to be. A few years ago, I had a person change my life and I didn’t even realize it. Moral of the story is, you always find what you are looking for once you stop looking for it.

  55. The Parallax opened my eyes and mind to a side of life that I had never really acknowledged before. Yes, I have recognized that some individuals may not see things as I do and therefore may live a different lifestyle than myself. After reading this text, I have realized that I have never actually accepted this concept. I believe that to be a stronger, more self-aware individual, I must sincerely put myself in other’s shoes to not only recognize their view points, but to also whole heartedly understand and accept them as equivalent to my own.

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