I tend to learn the most from people who take a clear stance on something. They come at life from an obvious perspective. And that perspective is evident in everything they do.

I call these “lenses.” A lens is a person’s perspective, but not really their whole perspective. It’s like one extremely definable part of their overall perspective, that one thing that sticks out everywhere.

You can guess what lens someone has on by the labels they use to identify themselves. Like Christian. Or artist. Or basketball player. Or mother.

But those labels don’t really go far enough. They’re too general. They include too much. There are too many different kinds of Christians, different kinds of artists, different kinds of basketball players, and different kinds of mothers.

Another way to think of lenses is to think of them as boxes. They’re boxes that people try to fit everything in.

For example, you might try wearing a minimalist lens. In that case, you’d try to simplify everything. You’d consider how you speak and try to simplify that. You’d consider what you wear and try to simplify that. You might even simplify your website, the way I’ve done here.

Point is, a lens takes over everything. Even if something shouldn’t fit in the box, or shouldn’t be seen through the lens, you force it anyway. So I guess you could also say a lens is like an ideology. Yep, it’s a lot like that.

Only way more practical.

I think another difference between lenses and ideologies, though, is that lenses are more obvious, even to the person with the lens. Ideologies are pretty obvious – they define a person’s belief system after all. But still, some (maybe even most) people can accept ideologies unconsciously.

Lenses are always on purpose and always distinct from the person. Like someone else can clearly see the lens that someone else is wearing and then take it and apply it to their own life. Ideologies, I think, get mixed with identity too easily. They’re harder to transfer.

Anyway, I like lenses, and I like when people purposely try them on. It’s easier to observe benefits and down sides when someone takes a position to its extreme, especially comprehensively.