What You Choose to ‘Not Be’
- August 2, 2016
- Posted by: Reena Saxena
- Category: Thinking Maps
You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
I start listing down all the people that I have known since childhood – family, teachers, friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, clients and alumni of different institutions. And there I go in search of people who averaged me out.
1. The Red List
I took a red pencil and crossed the names of all the people that I dislike. I choose not to think about them.
2. The Purple List
My purple pencil was reserved for the people I did not like, but needed for survival. I had to pretend to be cordial. There was no choice. Your boss and domestic help could both fall in this list.
3. The Blue List
Next, came a blue pencil to cross the people I do not actively like, but choose to interact with, being part of the same family or work set-up. Civility is the word here, not Need.
4. The Grey List
Then, I picked up a grey one, and just obliterated the cells. There were so many whom I neither liked nor loathed. I could live my life well enough, without them, and I do not see a need to acknowledge their existence.
5. The Black List
Now, I chose the thickest, blackest, darkest pencil possible, which could provide the highest degree of contrast to the white background of the template. These were the people I loved to loathe, but they lent meaning to my life, by juxtaposition. I have sworn never to be like them. They are the scum of humanity, but their existence highlights the ‘nobility’ of my existence. Maybe, they draw similar solace from my existence.
6. The Golden List
These are the people whom I love, admire and respect. Tell me the names of people you consider to be your mentors, and I will write your Vision, Mission and Values statement of your life. The catch is, they may not be people you have met, or you know on a one-to-one basis. Deities, authors, philosophers, social activists, political leaders and public figures could all figure in this list.
The Golden List is created after an elaborate elimination process, of choosing what and who you Do not want in your life.
The Power of Filters
Have you heard the following conversation, at the coffee machine or water cooler in the office?
“I just saw the promotion list. X’s name does not appear, despite the mega success of his project”.
“I would be damned, if his name had appeared. He told the boss what he (the boss) was doing wrong. One has to know better, I say”.
A throaty chuckle is heard, followed by the quick exit of some embarrassed faces.
X is seen as both competent and foolish. It depends on the filter applied. Some people present there have chosen to ‘not be poor or less successful’, and some have chosen to ‘not be dishonest or a liar’. And those choices have made them whatever they are. They choose to see X with the lens that they have crafted so cleverly, given their unique experience in life.
The Top Five are not the people in my physical vicinity, but those about whom I think, and use those thoughts to make my choices. And they figure either in the Golden or Black List.
You spend most of your time on the internet, phone or television, and keep in touch with your Golden and Black lists.
Darkness is only the absence of light. Or is it the reverse? What about sound and silence, knowledge and ignorance? Do they oppose or complement each other?
1. The Majority Filter
Pic : linkcrafter.com
How do you think the above figure was drawn? With black ink on white paper? Why not white ink on black paper?
- The commonest color of paper used is white.
- White appears to be all-pervasive in this diagram, with black curves drawn on it.
- It is easier to paint black on white, dark on light, rather than the reverse.
Your finest qualities will be perceived, in context of the majority outlook, and the value system of the immediate environment in which you live.
2. The Known Logic Filter
Here, the black and white stripes cover almost equal space. White on black, or black on white? What do I need to check?
a. The material used.
Maybe, two colors of paper were used, and no ink. Paper of one color is pasted on another. This could also be a knit fabric, with black and white threads running alternately, without an overlap.
Touch would reveal the texture of the flat base color, and the slightly raised topping. A large amount of white would need to be used, if it was painted on black paper.
c. Relative strength
The depth or transparency of the color would indicate its strength. Is there a tinge of grey in white? So, that was the thinner consistency.
Here, known logic is used to apply the check, and make a choice.
3. The Perception Filter
Here, I see a revolutionary cutting through the darkness, to emerge with its identity. It has acquired a shape, based on the space it could cut through. And this shape could change, based on the space available, or juxtaposition with an extraneous factor. Would the intensity of this picture be overlooked, with a colorful picture placed besides it? Or specks of grey introduced in the vision? Could the hero appear to be a monster, with specks of red, dripping from what appears to be his eyes or mouth?
How the World Shapes You?
I reproduce the story of Michelangelo with his masterpiece sculpture of David. On being complimented on the exquisite finesse of his work, the artist retorted :
“Why, it was easy. I just chipped off everything that was not David.”
What you choose to Not Be, shapes you and reinvents you.
David’s girlfriend could have exclaimed in horror:
“Where is the gold chain that I gifted him? Of course, David cannot exist without a symbol of my love.”
How the World Sees You?
But nothing exists in absolute terms, not even you. People want to see each other, with symbols (or bonds) of their ‘love’, and will judge you, based on the extent of mutual connectivity. The further one goes in the quest for individuality, the hazier the picture appears to another.
You and the world will see each other by applying one or more of the three filters. There could be many more. These three are just indicative.