Whats your P(reference)?

There are two basic ways to establish dimensions on a blueprint. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The first one is called “absolute” positioning. Absolute positioning uses a known reference point for all of its measurements. We call this a “datum” or an “origin”. Everything branches off from this single point that usually is zero on a Cartesian plane. See figure 1 for illustration

Figure 1 (Absolute Positioning)

*notice how all the dimensions are coming from the top left corner of the drawing*

The second method is called “incremental” positioning. This method uses the last point as a reference for the next point. All measurements are “relative” to the previous one as figure 2 illustrates.

Figure 2 (Incremental Positioning)

*each dimension is based off of a previous dimension*

The question is “which one is better to use?”

Im glad you asked. The answer isn’t that simple. Absolute positioning gives you solid foundation to stand but requires a little bit more work, such as addition and subtraction. It is also a more detailed perspective and gives you the “big picture”, but it takes longer to prepare.

Incremental positioning is quicker and simpler to use, and it shows the relationship between dimensions more clearly, (which sometimes is more important). However, if one mistake is made, it directly leads to a series of mistakes that in end will be far off from the original design, so it requires a bit more attention in that sense.

If you have read this far, then you have a greater interest in truth than you thought and you’re wiser than you think.

How is your life referenced? Is it in relation to an absolute? Moral absolutes? Or perhaps you measure the success in your life to a beginning point in time? Do you prefer the big picture with all the details? Sometimes focusing on the big picture can be overwhelming and hard to understand, so perhaps in your situation it may be better to look at it “incrementally”. It may take 30 minutes to walk a mile, but we walk a mile one step at a time. Having an incremental perspective can be profitable in a large endeavor, because it shifts your focus on the smaller things. It also teaches you to be “flexible”, and “adaptable” in changing atmospheres. But be cautious, having a “relativism” worldview can lead you astray, as mistakes and bad information can add up quickly and you’ll end up missing the mark in the long run. So always reflect that your increments in life are in check with the absolutes in your life, that is your goals and milestones.

To conclude, these perspectives (absolute and incremental) are interchangeable and should communicate the same message in the long run. They work together, not against each other. Let your focal points change as needed and let them help you see with more clarity and precision.




4 thoughts on “Whats your P(reference)?

  1. I have a question about your analogy. In terms of absolute positioning there is a ‘origin’ or in essence the point of reference for each and every datapoint. What would this point be for ones life, what is the point of origin in which all measurements, benchmarks, and goals are made from?


    1. Thanks for the feedback! To answer your question, we first have to ask the question, “is there an absolute origin or reference point of ones life?” Morally, I believe so. There are objective morals/values that each of us tend to lean towards. In other aspects of life, (career, education, family, communities, business etc) I think reference points can vary, (according to their own values). For example, one business owner could value relationships over employees, so he/she might have a smaller company but more cultivated employees.

      Hope this clears the air a bit


      1. So if I understand your reply correctly you are saying that for individual goals the reference might be relative while with morality this is more or less objective for each person. This seems to fall in line with what common experience might suggest. Most people from a young age are instilled with some level of cultural and social values and tend to not deviate from these throughout their lives. I suppose such a thing could be called a ‘concrete subjectivity’ which in the case of cultures and social groups represents objective reality in which to supply the basis for their goals. I guess I am still curious though why are some things (morality, values,etc) objective while others (valuing employees, etc) be subjective or relative?


        1. Yes, that is what I am saying to answer the first half. I would argue that morality is objective because some things are just downright evil, regardless of the culture it was birthed from. The holocaust, for example, was considered good in the eyes of the culture, but we would still consider it evil.


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