Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Dreaded Box

it is funny how we continue to want to live "inside the box" . . . categories do not define the human very well. From a comment by Ener Hax on the Anthropic/Avatarian Chart.

I used the quote above as inspiration for a day of tweets mulling the idea of #insideabox. Here's an edited and enhanced version of what I came up with:

When you're thinking outside "the" box you're still thinking #insideabox. Meditational awareness can be outside the context of boxes, but the minute you put it into words you're back in boxland. Thought depends upon categorization. Language inherently differentiates, categorizes and labels. The moral of this slow motion tweet rant is that we're always #insideabox and #outsideabox until the #nobox of enlightenment.

Conceptual boxes are like infinite Russian dolls. I love the heady rush of a new insight as much as anyone, but every time I break out of one limited point of view I'm breaking into another. That's neither bad nor good, just the nature of the beast.

A map isn't the territory. Treating concepts as reality is like driving a car with a map covering the windshield. So one danger in seeing any insight as "THE TRUTH" is that you stop reality testing.


Objectification isn't seeing someone as a person in a box, but rather seeing the box as being the person. It's the difference between saying, "Botgirl is an Avatarian" and "All Avatarians are lunatics, so Botgirl is a lunatic." The latter is especially harmful when used to support the oppression of people by race, gender, sexual preference, religion, etc.


A monk's cell. A mother's womb. A martial arts form. A committed relationship. A musical key. A choreography.
 All are boxes. Boxes are temporary and flexible containers. Problems come when we treat them as rigid and eternal structures.

Is 140 charactors a box we're inside of or a means to transcend habitual thinking? User experience will vary. I've found that the solid limitations of box can be the solid ground I use to lift myself out of habitual perspectives and ways of doing things.

If you want to keep tabs on my ongoing Twitter experiments, please give me a follow.

1 comment:

iliveisl said...

i read a really interesting article once on "outside the box" thinking. that phrase is soooo overused and does not really mean much anymore. what this author said is that as we become experts in a field, we thicken the walls to our box

for example, i have a very definite perspective on what Second Life is. i can say "well, i built this" and "i developed six sims for the university", and "blah, blah, blah"

and part of my opinion, err i mean my learned perspective, is that i would consider myself expert at SL (oh Lord, in the eLearning community, it is amazing at what passes someone off as an expert!)

as soon as i say i am an "expert", "guru", or "ninja" i firm up my box walls a bit more

if someone came to me with some big plans for Second Life - i could be quick to say "yes, that will work" or "hmm, that will not work". while i may believe in my heart of hearts that i am being balanced and open, giving those kinds of answers soothe my ego. and the ego is hungry for validation

but as soon as i say the latter, "no that can't be done", i have basically run into a wall in my "expert" box. and saying "no, that's not possible" never led to any advances in people, technology, or anything else

i very much like that Botgirl has made it a well developed point in this post to say that boxes can be flexible. and i truly revere (is revere right? i think in frog and mean it to say "respect", "been transformed", etc) what Botgirl has taught me about second life, my avatar, and even about the real me