It has been very quiet in here – I have not posted any items for some time.
There is a good reason – I have been considering some more difficult and complex concepts, things that need thinking through and some reflection.
There is a well-known saying about thinking outside the box, Wikipedia defines it as:
“Thinking outside the box (also thinking out of the box or thinking beyond the box and, especially in Australia, thinking outside the square) is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel or creative thinking.”
It’s the new perspective part that is challenging.
Even the box can have perspectives: is it a two-dimensional box, like a tick box on a form or a three-dimensional box, such as a hat box. Boxes come in all shapes and sizes, including virtual and imaginary.
A well-known on-line retailer often uses oversized boxes, in which you find another box, containing the item you bought. The packaging often exceeds the contents.
If thinking outside of the box, how do you know, that you are not just thinking inside a larger box?
Boxes usually come with labels that describe their contents or their destination.
We try and summarize complex issues into one-line sound bites or we use labels to describe people by one of their attributes.
We are bombarded with memes and pithy little sayings.
The problem often is that they carry a truth, but only within a specific box or context*.
Often the label and all those associated with it are discredited just by pointing to an extreme example.
You don’t need to go far to see this in action. Carefully crafted slogans that can mean anything to anyone, yet sound good.
I recently challenged a statement made on social media – in a positive and constructive way – it used a label and how people identified by that label could end up.
A response from one person to my comment clarified how he understood that label – by listing 20 more characteristics (or labels).
He kind of made my point for me – people are more complex than simple labels and everyone will understand the label from their own perspective.
I could take this further but will stop here.
*Context is huge – includes culture, experience, age, location, time, circumstance, history, language and much more