Look at the Window

by jeffrusk

I heard a story in college which I have never forgotten.  The gentleman was in the field of education and somehow got invited to do some evaluations of schools in Cuba.  He said the time he was at the first school on the first day went quite well and he thought they were really doing a good job with the supplies and facilities they had.  He was with a group and did not enter in the discuss much as the time went along.  At the end of the time at the school the group was asked if anyone had any final questions or comments.  The gentleman had just one question.  “I notice that the school seems quite dark and that there is not enough light in the halls and classrooms.  I just wondered why it was so dark and was there any step they could take to change this?”  The reply was, “You still have your sunglasses on!”

The problem was not the lighting in the school.  The problem was the perspective of the visiting educator.  The perspective, view-point, paradigm, model, mindset or however you wish to describe it, can so subtly change what is out there so that what is “seen” is “miss seen.”  It matters not only what you see out a window, but what window you are looking through. 

This aspect of learning, exploring and discovering is probably the one most overlooked.  We can think we are so objective, and so open-minded but do we take this objectivity to exploring the model  which we automatically use to evaluate all the input from our life around us.  The model or paradigm is such an intricate part of our experience it is like our own brain.  We are using our brain all the time to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch and yet we are not aware of our brain even functioning while this is going on but it is the functioning brain which determines what we ultimately sense.  We have some picture or model of life which we use to test, evaluate and examine what comes our way and see if this makes sense and agrees with our model or  if we have received some item which needs to treated with some scepticism and evaluated further.

If I said, “I am making patties for lunch out of dirt and water,” most people’s model would interpret I am child at play.   If I said, “I am making a cake for lunch from flour, salt, milk and eggs,” most people’s model would interpret that I am an adult fixing a desert.  But if I said, “I am making stew from horse manure, rusty nails and motor oil,” most people’s model of life would cause them to stop and questions this because this does not fit  the normal concepts of what is used for food in life.

Models.  So powerful and important in our lives but seldom noticed or appreciated.  They are very much like the air we breath. 

What is your window on life?