The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Ever had a cubist conversation?

A few days ago, someone sent a mail complaining about an – to him – over simplistic call to reduce taxes. As I watched an email conversation unfold it became more and more confusing. Reading through the mails I constantly found myself in a different perspective. The authors added their point of view and the arguments they could see. The conversation started to look like a painting straight out of Cubism.

How to look at a Cubist Painting - Ad Reinhardt
How to look at a Cubist Painting – Ad Reinhardt. Mudam, 26.11.2017, fh

I had been reminded of the drawing Ad Reinhardt made explaining how to look at a Cubist painting. With a camera, as I did with this picture, we capture one perspective of an object or a scene. It is based on the “point of view” the camera had when the picture was taken. In a conversation it is similar: the authors of the mails all added the information they could see, usually mixed up with their opinions.

The more mails came in, the more perspectives came together, leading to a picture allowing us to see a multitude of ideas about the subject, individual perceptions.

To come to a conclusion, it would help a lot to regain the ability of a child to know that it is ok to see an object from different perspectives and to take all the positions needed to see it. The child also knows, that if we do this, then there is no right or wrong.


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