Tuesday, May 15, 2012
There Are No Lines
Color Inside the Lines (silent generation)
When I was in kindergarten, I remember Miss Mapes teaching us all "color inside the lines". We sat at our desks (divided tables) working diligently to make sure that not one bit of color went outside the lines. At the time of course, we were only given one coloring sheet so if we messed up, no second chance, no extra credit, you failed. It was an exercise in discipline and framed the standards of the education we would receive from then on. And that phrase continued to meet me in my work, personal and educational life. The very tired phrase of "we've never done it that way before" comes to mind with this mindset.
That teaching, philosophy and learning carries many people through much of their life. Just keep your head down, go along to get along, and don't rock the boat. In a world with much certainty, jobs that lasted at the same company until retirement, families that didn't move 4-5 times while the kids were growing up, and a deep sense of community and trust developed over time, that worldview worked and help together the fabric of society. It was the prevailing wisdom of the Silent generation. Interestingly, no member of the Silent generation was ever elected President, and many of them have faded from the social and political world.
Color Outside the Lines (boomer generation)
In the late 1990's, while I was in grad school, a new phrase began to emerge. That phrase was "color outside the lines". There are several books that claim the phrase in their title, but I remember hearing professors use it frequently. It was touted as the next great philosophy. Bend the rules. Live in the gray of the world. The words both/and were lifted up as well. This idea took hold and many pushed a can't we agree to disagree view. Not only that, but it lifted up a kind of dualism of attempting to live in both worlds of two arguments.
This view comes from the Boomer generation. Boomers grew up in a time of significant change in society. Worldviews were shifting and changing with each new protest and dramatic political decision made in the 1960's. There were several deaths of prominent leaders in the US that caused many boomers to question authority, purpose, meaning and the stability of the world. They are known as the protest generation, although many of that generation moderated with age and became more like the previous generation in regard to work.
For many, "color outside the lines" was a revolutionary statement made from the Boomers to the next few generations.
There Are No Lines (Gen X and beyond)
In what appears to be an evolution of thought, which has been built upon the work of others, I would postulate something different. How about, "there are no lines". In a world that attempts to be bound by rules and control, there are no lines. What kept us apart for many years is long since gone.
In a world of deep interconnectedness through the web, new connections and ideas can be assimilated and adapted immediately. The edges are now all soft.
Generation X grew up in a very similar time as the Boomers, but with significant adaptation of new technologies.
Things are blending together so quickly, that there is not enough time to define it, other than to say, there are no lines. And this new world, it is for sure and definitely NOT FLAT!
Stop trying to find the lines, follow the lines or color over the lines.
There are no lines. Once you recognize this, you will finally discover the lines you see were self imposed. Only try and realize the truth.
There are no lines.
The world is an empty canvass. Make of it what you will.
Sadly many do not understand this and use rules and regulations to abuse those who disagree. Many will attempt to understand, but try and merge a misguided and well- meaning version. It won't work.
We are predisposed to repeat the past, unless we choose to change it.
Do we wonder why Gen X and the Millenials have slowly faded from church? This is why.
Seek the abiding and magnificent love of God. Receive it. Share it. Live it. And please reject the rules based religions that bind you up, and keeps you from true peace and happiness.
Embrace the full love of God in Jesus Christ.
Go in peace and go with God.
Posted by Jeremy V. at 9:46 AM