A couple years ago, while Jupiter was bombarded by comet fragments, I was struck by the reaction of those watching.
What was clearly the cataclysmic event of the millennium to Jupiter, was nothing more than a cosmic fireworks display to us here on Earth.
Safely removed from the impact, Jupiter's catastrophe becomes our entertainment.
Scientists said that if only one of the 20-odd fragments had hit our planet, its impact would throw up such a dust cloud as to obscure the sun, ending all life as we know it. In fact, scientists believe that scenario has already happened here at least once - ending the dinosaur era.
Other than primitive probes, we don't even have the technology to get to Jupiter, let alone have any idea what - or who - is on Jupiter.
And what of the long-term effects to the largest planet in our solar system? Might even the slightest change in a planet 1400 times larger than Earth, a planet larger than all the others in our solar system combined, have an effect on the rest of our cosmic neighborhood?
Yet, without exception, media coverage of the Jupiter event came from the assumtive viewpoint that the bigger the explosions, the better. Scientists bubbled over with enthusiasm from each volley of impacts. The bigger the explosion, the better their instruments could record it.
How would our view of the event have been different if the comet had us in its crosshairs?
Would life forms on Jupiter then be rooting for larger fireballs to erupt from earth?
One event. Several radically different viewpoints. Each determined by where we happen to be sitting. This is a clear example of how drastically our viewpoint is colored based on how we're personally affected.
Is it any wonder we have trouble getting along with each other? There are as many viewpoints as there are people.
Yet, disagreements are merely the intersection of differing viewpoints - different people looking at the same event through the viewpoint of how it affects them.
That's why it's always so easy to see the solution to the other fellow's problem. It doesn't affect us. We don't have a personal stake in the outcome - we're not required to lose or change anything to implement the solution.
And that's why mediation is such an effective way to solve disputes. A third party with no interest in the outcome more clearly sees the issues and can better find a fair solution.
We, it turns out, are not quite as fair in our judgments as we might think.
Just look at Jupiter.
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at MikeJohnson.biz