Your lens is not just the totality of your experience and understanding, it is also what you are capable of understanding. This is not a difficult concept to grasp, but it is very sobering to think about.
For example, there are frequencies we can’t hear, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Likewise, there are limits to what our brains are capable of understanding, beyond which we can’t imagine – because we are incapable of imagining it. If we try there’s just an empty void we are unable to fill in with information.
We might like to think that, given enough time and the proper motivation, we could learn, say, quantum physics. But the reality is not everyone’s brain is capable of understanding the subject matter.
This idea applies to social issues as well. Here’s a disturbing example: suppose you are a white, middle age male. You go through life trying to treat others fairly, and you pride yourself on not being prejudiced. You don’t really see a lot of racial discrimination so it’s not a big problem to you. Of course you’re not seeing it because you’re white. Why would you see it? It’s just not part of your reality – you don’t see the world through that lens.
If you’be never listened to jazz, it must sound like confusing noise – again, since you have no frame of reference, it’s not part of the lens through which you view the world. It’s a part of the world you don’t see, and you wouldn’t understand it even if you could.
You think you are seeing, but your eyes aren’t really open.