"That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next".~ John Stuart Mill
This bubbled up this morning in my mind about looking over the horizons at possibilities we might not have imagined. What could be done if we are willing or even a cursory nod toward the idea that there may be a new (might we even dare) improved possibility of doing things differently?
The other night I listened to a late night talk show that in my opinion is trying far too hard to be hip, modern and sophisticated have as their subject matter about the “epidemic” of obesity especially among people of color. I listened as they trotted out every horrible stereotype with their right arm sideman with cruel, rigid “jokes”. They tried to have a veneer of “concern” but it was just plain out right meanness.
Even the panel of experts there was one, the fitness trainer whose lack of awareness and her bias toward ones obese made me think “That would be the last person I would pay my hard earned money or time or trust placing my health in her unyielding hands. The resident psychologist tried vainly as the program went on to keep a balance as the cruelty increasingly got worst. All I could think of is the ones who were either in the audience or watching the program possibly shrinking their already (some) fragile egos as they were totally dissesd on national TV & how many may have thrown in the towel or now would do something potentially dangerous or harmful to themselves because of this programming.
I decided I was going to write the show and the network. True enough it will probably be tossed in the round file cabinet, but ya never know. They need to be challenged to look over the horizon and not rely on what was never true from the giddy-up. I may would have respected them more if they just outright declared that they were bigots and have at it rather the very shaky justification of concern for health. The unfortunate thing is there are more people who believe like them, just like some who do have a weight challenge also believe it. Or see them a victim, hopeless or hapless.
However if we allow people to confine us by defining us we will pay for it in many ways as well as deny to others the abundance of what we can contribute to the world and who would want that?
Imagine how the world would have been if no one had ever thought of some of the things that we’ve come to think of as having been around forever. These advancements we may have come to question when the world seems turbulent/ swaying to & fro angrily and grabbing hold of something solid seems near impossible by some. This is the time which is pregnant with possibilities of somehow creating something new out of a necessity which is indeed the mother of invention.
People love to wax poetically the “good ole days”, except if you sit long enough you will find that those proverbial good days were not quite as good as we thought except what was softened by memory and a need to hold onto something recognizable.
My looking over the horizon is not earth shattering our global world changing but it will for me a great thing in a small way. I had not thought ever that I would find myself with the prospect of designing a park like garden for a college campus. I have zero, zilch, nada formal training or experience in this other then an appreciation of nature, harmony and an artistic eye.
But how providential is it to have an attachment to an academic environment that will be allow me to foster that exploration with some degree support and needed information as I go along to create my Edge Of the Waters Meditative Gardens surrounding the exterior grounds which will not only benefit the campus, but the neighboring community.. What I may lack in formal training I far more make up in eagerness to learn new things, challenge my horizons & plain old chutzpah (the nerve)..
My wanting to know why not got me in trouble as a child and later in adulthood some disapproval or even worst not taken seriously. There was always someone who would get indignant or question me as a troublemaker or impertinent for dare wondering why it could not be a different way. Not that I was trying to dissolve the status quo, but perhaps a little variation of that status that for the most part wasn't immoral, illegal, harmful or unethical, just a little differently but it did make some uncomfortable. I know now it has far more to do with their being nervous about change rather then anything wrong with me. But it did not stop me from having considerable angst over the years until I figured that out.
To a degree not having that formal training left freeness or any room for "Oh no that cannot be done. It must be XYZ instead". If it’s a "mistake" I /you won't know, right? That ignorance can turn into an intelligent new level as we can always say & do the "why nots"? My thoughts are not in reference to doing things foolishly, haphazardly as even in looking beyond the horizon does indeed mean looking into the tools to make it happen. You won't have to rush headlong into something that may not work or could potentially be dangerous, but if can give some leeway of trying something a little differently if you allow to see a bigger picture of thinking outside the box.
Be mindful I am not in opposition to formal training; I do believe it has its place and I like that part to. It is more of a matter of being balanced, the yang & the ying be on familiar terms with that both have a place. What I illustrated here necessitate looking over the horizon and then act otherwise we will continue to wax with nostalgia the (not always so) good ole days.
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