The following piece was inspired by a student who often liked to draw her own boxes.
How many times have you been asked,
Yes or no,
Blue or pink,
Okay or not?
An either/or question would prompt our reflexes to pick the 51%.
Programmed to believe we harbour decisions
With the flip a two-sided coin.
The world isn’t binary.
And neither are we.
Yet everything is made up of just zeros and one.
In an arranged pattern,
of zeros and ones.
There was a time when world was immutable.
Sentenced to death if you were a bump in the road.
As kids, adults would flash cards where
The ocean could only be blue and
The trees had to be green.
The power of colour dictated to us through wax pastels,
Where the original colours only consisted of 10 choices.
We couldn’t have more than 10.
Otherwise it wouldn’t fit in the box!
We could get a bigger box,
But that meant asking someone to make it, or
we could do it ourselves.
But who would buy it?
To create something new and original.
But wait, it can’t be original,
because the original ones already exist.
It’s too much work… never mind.
It would just end up in the clearance section
Underneath the ones that was sold by bulk.
One kid told me, “There’s more than 10 shades of blue”
I don’t want just dark or light.
I just want a hint of everything.
I want to make my own blue.
Okay, let’s make a mess.
Let’s make our own.
So next time they ask you: yes or no? Say maybe.
The next time they ask you: Blue or Pink? Say yellow.
The next time they ask you: Okay or not? Say day by day.
So I’d like to introduce you to the spectrum of choices. A palette of thinking, curated by you and only you.
Don’t fall for the gimmick of two choices.
There’s always more.
As Margaret Meads likes to say,
Always remember that you are absolutely unique.
Just like everyone else.