No B.S Friday: We function in the abstract, but the detail makes life interesting
Ok, saw this the other day. Check it out:
Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.
cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,
it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !!
That looks a lot like some of the essays I handed in in high school.
(Millennials think they’re so srmat with their spell-checkers and what not. I had to do it the hard way – which I didn’t. I just took a punt, and got results like the flow of text above.
And these days I’ve got a proof-reader who does it for me, so who’s the srmat one now, Mr Lewis?)
Anyway, I’m guessing you were able to read this without much trouble. I do hate to say it, but it does not mean you’re a genius.
(You might still be a genius, but unfortunately social media hasn’t evolved enough to be able to determine that for us. In fact, the only sure sign of genius might be the fact that you’re not even on social media.)
But humans are clever like that. We are very talented at keeping our perspective fixed on the bigger picture.
We’re good at not losing sight of the forest for the trees.
Most of us are. Some rare geniuses aren’t able to blur reality the way our minds do.
So when I’m walking along and see a tree, I see a tree. My mind takes the visual picture my eyes are taking in, identifies the tree as a tree, and then just substitutes an abstract concept of a tree into it’s place.
That’s pretty wild when you think about it.
It’s what makes something like driving possible. Imagine if every tree you had to pass when you’re driving you had to meet on its merits – you had to take in the trunk and the branches and the leaves and all of that and understand if it was a danger to you or not.
And then do that with every object you passed. No way.
We’re able to navigate the world because we substitute most things in our field with an abstract concept of the thing – tree, car, truck, pedestrian.
The nuance of each car, truck and pedestrian is ignored for its class.
And in this way, we can navigate a very complex world quickly and efficiently.
And we can read jumbled text and not lose sight of the words for the letters.
That said, definition is always available to you.
Detail is always available to you.
Nuance is always available to you.
And its in these things where we find beauty. In the quirkiness and the uniqueness.
If we spend too long in an abstract universe, we become blind to the beauty that’s around us – the world becomes a bit grey and pixelated.
If we want to live in the vivid beauty that is here all around us, just waiting for us to recognise it, then we need to spend some time getting dirty in the detail.
Look at a tree, and look past what it abstractly represents. See what’s unique about that particular tree – the unique shape of its branches, the hang of its leaves.
This ‘attention to detail’ is the gateway to beauty.
So make time for it. Of course, the modern world demands that we work with abstracts. There’s no getting around that.
But give yourself a little time to savour the nuance and enjoy the definition.
This is how to fill your life with beauty.