Examinations of Avant Garde ideas in our Universe

Saturday, December 7, 2013

No box, okay? There never was one.

I’m so totally over that phrase “thinking out of the box” and have been since its official expiration date about eight years ago. Why would anyone want to think IN the box in the first place? We wouldn’t. Thank you.

Have a problem that you don’t know how to solve? Who are the players in the equation? How about becoming one of them? Sounds odd, I know, but go with it. Whether you’re struggling with the complex dynamics of family-relations or negotiating with your insurance company, we’re always pretty much adapting the same set of rules to different scenarios. Keep doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you’ve got. So let’s experiment.

What if we tried to approach a problem without any assumptions? It gets a bit ridiculous at some point, I know. So fine, we can make some. The beauty of assumptions is that they shave off valuable time and allow us to quickly size up people and situations into familiar categories. That’s one of the things we’ve learned to do with our gigantic and malleable brains. But the hazard is that assumptions can prevent us from seeing the truth and reality about our world.

What do you see in this picture, Other Generations by Helen Frankenthaler?

I took a poll among my family during Thanksgiving. A sad face, someone said. A forest, said someone else. Landscape. Dancers. A closet too full of clothes. One person said a four year old painted it, someone else guessed someone suffering from mental illness. It was painted by renowned abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler, one of the premiere New York expressionists of the last century.  

Now what do you see when I turn it 90 degrees? Somehow the horizontal orientation of the long forms do begin to resemble parts of a physical landscape. I see the Golden Gate bridge. How  about you?

What would happen if you turned a situation on its side to get a different view? Or…turned yourself sideways to alter what’s around you? I think this is what that used-to-death phrase is prompting. If we can’t see a way out of something, what can we see?