When I was a public school educator back in the eighties, our school administration conducted a serious of lecture/workshops to introduce the faculty to some "new" social terminology (lifted from the field of scientific research): the paradigm. Simply stated, this is any philosophical or theoretical framework widely accepted as the norm. When you embrace the paradigm, you are "in the box."
The goal was to acknowledge our current habits of reasoning and learning, and to begin thinking "outside the box." This movement to new social structures is called a "paradigm shift." As I recall, we were instructed that a BIG ONE was happening in society. The computer was starting to be everywhere, and for that and other reasons, our world was getting smaller. Now we had to be on board to teach our students the art of change.
|Sketching at the mall with water soluble pen|
|Soon to be a victim of changing paradigms|
At least that's how I recall it. Maybe I was doodling in the margins, and thinking about a guy named Fred, but I swear there were boxes and arrows and all kinds of lists of "what's in" and "what's out" and "what's about to be in and out."
That was about twenty five years ago (I gave up teaching about five years later, for numerous reasons I may talk about another day), and it's all really a blur except for the gut memory of confusion and boredom at these sessions. But in the end, a lot of change has come to pass in the way we think about and live our lives. This considerable shift in social structures has brought about what I believe is a big change in brain function as well. In those days, even with the prevalence of computers and video games, most of my interaction with people in my life was face to face, or at least ear to ear (with extended phone conversation.) On the days that I couldn't get to my friends, we would talk in endless detail in cohesive phone chats.
|Sketching on location: outdoor details (as seem through a window)|
|Just before the snow melted|
Nowadays the phone almost never rings, and "chat" is barely more than instant text exchange. Most of my daily human interaction (outside that old school presence of a live in spouse) is done in tiny tidbits of short isolated postings over the Internet. As much as I love to death all the new people I am meeting and the possibilities of relationships that abound, it no longer has the same intense, messy personal connection of those pre-cyberspace days. I look at the sheer number of humans I talk to daily and then consider how many of them can be there for me in real life. What can be so comforting in theory (unlimited connection), fails to fulfill the real human need for physical proximity, eye contact, touch. "LOL" is definitely not the same as laughing together.
|A box made from art to store small art journals|
|The bottom and inside of the box; a real, not theoretical one|
And yet, if it weren't for this new "box," I wouldn't be talking to all of you, and I wouldn't be exploring my art which has become, in a very short while, the center of my life. I think I understand there is no going back and I wouldn't want to. So I've decided not to emphasize the negative aspects that come with change, but embrace what's good in it.
|My most recent design in Contemporary Woven Boro, called "Blue Moon Heart"|
Being aware of the box, I too can think outside. If I can help it, I will have a long connected life. It is far from over, and I intend to continue looking beyond the horizon where the best of the future will be. I'm going to follow that sun.