maps of simplicity
‘Persons who have been transported back in time are easy to identify. They wear dark, indistinct clothing and walk on their toes, trying not to make a single sound, trying not to bend a single blade of grass. For they fear that any change they make in the past could have drastic consequences for the future.’*
Alan Lightman’s novel plays with many notions of time, around the last months of Albert Einstein concluding his theory of relativity in 1905.
There’re other ways we can play with time, of there being people from the future among us.
These future people are are from the present, though they appear to be from the future because their minds and hearts are so open they’re able to imagine future possibilities vividly, so much so, they begin to build these in the present.
Richard Rohr writes about a “third eye” of seeing.
The “first eye” sees something for what it is and enjoys it.
The “second eye” sees and enjoys something for what it is but wants to understand what is seen, too.
The third eye, though, whilst enjoying and understanding, wants to be be one with ‘an underlying mystery, coherence, and spaciousness that connected him with everything else’.**
Simplicity, complexity, SIMPLICITY = BIG simplicity:
“For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.”^
This can also be understood and experienced as the wisdom of mind and heart and being one.
All of us know the compulsion to “grow up.” Like the force of a Star Trek tractor beam, we feel the force to leave the simplicity of childhood behind — it almost takes too much energy to resist it.
Geographer William Bunge notices how, when it comes to maps, “there seems to be no geography of children, that is, the earth’s surface as the home of children”^^ Maps are about knowing, and knowing is power — the dark side of the power of the second eye.
Denis Woods then asks this question about how we use maps:
‘What is this? It is the heat of the darkness of our times, the assurance (and arrogance of the … expert … that he knows better than you.*^
Here is the danger of the one who knows. Nassim Taleb speaks of how it is too hard t0 remain open to there being more than what we see and understand, to walk through time as a sceptical empiricist.^* It’s hard to become an “un-expert”:
‘You have no idea what you are doing. If you did, you’d be an expert, not an artist.’⁺
This simplicity on the far side of complexity is where our future lies, and we are all able to move into the art which awaits us there.
Three myths about creativity which will disappear in the future are: only a a few people are creative, creativity is a solo occupation, and, creativity is about finding answers rather asking questions.
There are those among us who are drawing maps from the future, so connecting us to possibilities of what might be rather than only what has taken place, of what cannot yet be seen rather than what we understand.
‘In no walk of life have people failed to use the power of the map to connect themselves to the world.’*^
(*From Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(^Attributed to writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.)
(^^William Bunge, quoted in Denis Wood’s The Power of Maps.)
(*^From Denis Wood’s The Power of Maps.)
(^*See Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan.)
(⁺From Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception.)