The paradigm we have, en masse, existed in has been that of adding, bettering, improving, more-ing. To judge that method would, ironically, then plunge into the very paradigm to which I want to offer an alternative; and in finding another way to describe this alternative is to affirm it. I am not saying that the more/better method is bad, simply that it could, should we choose, exist as one tool within our potentially vast box of possibilities. Like any tool it works best when we use it for the application for which it is best suited. This “usage” is a whole discussion itself; the properties of said tool demand project understanding and design and functional fixity to name a few topics, but I do not wish to tread there as yet. Instead let’s take a moment and think of some things in which you are more versed, better skilled, exercise an expertise in today than at times before. Through honing, tempering, education, we forge a craft, skill, career, character…this is a type of growth or linear improvement that perpetuates through the collection of awards, certifications, degrees, kudos, bravos, promotions, and rewards, both internal and external. The silken threads of continuity are also strings.
Now take a few minutes to recall a few of your “Aha!” moments. These metaphorical relatives of Stephen J. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium are the moments when our world has become different in the instant of a realization. A perspective shift has emerged. We are not merely Better, Improved; we are not more than Who/What we were moments earlier. We are different. This is not positive or negative. We are childishly adept at seeing a terminus goal in our lives, choosing things as markers of a path and growth. Our adroitness at discovering our transcendent goal, that deeper job for which to create and hone tools and their chest, is that of pre-fire cognition, whether wooden or synaptic branches. If profound enough, only our face allows people to recognize us. We are that different inside. Transformative, quantum (ironically the word is getting bogged down in associations) shifting (no, not leaping, Tim) may be another tool in our box, having its own functional elasticity and social contracts (to this I refer to a writing that I have not yet written: The things that ground us, allowing us to grow, sometimes also being the very things that impede our ability to change).
This takes us to Halloween, my favorite of all holidays. One of the reasons that I love Halloween enough that I would gladly replace my birthday with a second Halloween each year is that it is a universal, comprehensive training ground for transformative existence. What other opportunity do we widely have where we can be anyone/thing we want to be, have so much fun doing it, and receive support and positive affirmation from everyone – from lover to stranger, with no negative fallout, no prejudice, no admonition? The rare occasion that we might be harassed is easily laughed off and we can readily see that person’s opinion as entirely said person’s issue without the need to play porter to their baggage. We are free to shed the confines of our comfortable silk threaded mental cocoon.