In the eye of a gnat
What one understands and how one understands is dependent upon perspective – personal, cultural, educational, experiential or what have you. There is a range of variability in how we see things, from people to people and from person to person. Some see narrowly, others more broadly; some peer deeply while many scan the surface; some are strongly influenced by ideology or creed, others less so; some elevate their thinking by study, reading and sheer hard work, while many don't bother or only take it so far, or pursue alternate paths altogether. And we all have our own set of filters...and blind spots.
People with different attitudes, different experiences, different outlooks, different traditions see different things. And many never have occasion to deeply question their enculturation, what they've been taught, the propaganda they've been subjected to or their own basic assumptions. I personally think that's important for people to learn to do. But that's a thing for philosophers, I suppose. It's probably not too far wrong to suggest that we, as a whole, are somewhat myopic and too tightly bound to our personal points of view, which is to some degree understandable – but limiting.
The unexamined life is not worth living. Think for yourself and question everything.
Don't think small.
We sometimes speak of the bird's eye view, or the twenty-five thousand foot view in reference to an enlarged perspective. Historians, anthropologists and geologists view time differently based on the perspective appropriate to their discipline, and all of them view it differently from most of us - we down here in the gnat's eye view. For those of us guided by our day-to-day challenges, to people living lives the spiritual (if not actual) equivalence of living paycheck to paycheck, it's easy to feel lost in or overwhelmed by the outrages of the day.
We're often too close to our own times, our own culture, our own ritualized political system or our own problems, to see them clearly or easily. It's hard to tell day-to-day who we are or where we're headed. The most we can say in times like these is that many of the signs are not good.
We need to get on with it.
On with what, you might ask. In the long view, with a sufficiently large perspective, it can be argued that humanity is moving toward more and better cooperation and unity (as strange as it may seem given present circumstances and the daily shit storm). Generally speaking, the pertinent facts are backed by solid data – at least up until now. While we may seem lost at the moment, from the long view, we seem to be headed in the right direction. So we just need to get on with it.
Trump, imho, is the last gasp of the old system, the death of old myths and memes, a final collapse into absurdity. I believe he signifies the death of the old order.
In the realms of science and technology, I see (or so I'm hoping) a rebirth of what could be, the emergence of a nascent new system that encompasses the whole of modern knowledge, honors and respects science and rejects noxious baggage from an unenlightened past.
Of course it won't be easy. Humanity will be dragged kicking and screaming into a better and wiser future, but dragged we will be by our historical momentum coupled with our natural inclination to want something better – IF we squeak by existentially and manage to survive our own pig-headedness until we can get to that better future. That could be the fly in the ointment.
We know what we have to do. Our biggest problems and challenges couldn't be more obvious. We're headed in the right direction, present chaos and the usual gang of knuckle-draggers notwithstanding. I think (and hope) that there is building across the land a tsunami of a Trump backlash and that it will be the surge necessary to get us over the hump to a new and better future (if the AI/robots don't get us). The question is, do we have enough time to bring sanity and reason – and SCIENCE – to bear in the interest of all humanity before we destroy ourselves in one way or another?
I think we have to assume worst case scenario on the time and just get on with it. The progress that is. It's time to transcend the gnat's eye view and learn to see humanity as a whole. It's time for the human race to grow up and start cooperating in the best interests of all people everywhere - top to bottom for the good of one and all. It's the only wise thing to do, the only humane thing to do - which is to say, the only human thing to do. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate and too foolish to countenance. History suggests we'll do the right thing eventually. We should just get on with it.
That time thing.