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Somewhere in the Mind of George Lucas There is a Yoda

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Posted on : 2:15 PM | By : Nic | In : ,

One discussion that often comes up at our house and on email lists I am on is linear thinking, or the thought process in which a person only thinks in terms of A + B = C.   I call this thinking in black and white.  Linear thinking can be great if you are doing simple math (1+1=2), but absolutely fails in any kind of practical situation.  For example, to reach his theory of relativity (E=MC2), Einstein obviously couldn't be thinking linearly because what normal person would think that matter and light could equal energy? Another good example of popular linear thinking is in making judgements about people, such as: some terrorists are Muslim -> all Muslims read the Koran -> all Muslims must be terrorists.


It struck me as funny the other day that somewhere in the mind of George Lucas there is a Yoda spouting pithy wisdom.  As a Star Wars (and Star Trek) fan, it bothered me that he has pretty much destroyed the archetypal mythos of Star Wars with merchandising and cheap knock-off movies.  It seemed a little ironic that Yoda was knocking around in such a sell-out brain.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Yoda was a victim of linear thinking too with such statements as "Do or do not, there is no try."  

If there is no try, then there is no hope.  There is huge gray area of possibility in between doing and not doing.  To quote another wise character from a movie:
"Quit, don’t quit. Noodles, don’t noodles. You are too concerned with what was and what will be." - Master Oogway
In trying to do or not do, we forget the most important - to be.  There are no strings attached to being, no rules, no good or bad.

Which brings me to why I was thinking about this in the first place.  We try sooo hard to not say, "You're doing good!"  or "Good job!" or especially the worst of all: "Good girl!"  In breaking these bad habits of labeling everything good or bad and simultaneously making our girls dependent on vague praise that only hurts them in the long run, I have struggled to learn one noble truth: "There is no good or bad news, just news." (Oogway again, lol)  My perception of what is going on in my home and in the world is often colored by my linear thinking, when the reality is that it can be perceived entirely different by someone else - so who's 'right'?  Both perceptions.  For example, a certain child was cutting with scissors, just cutting newspapers into little pieces.  Suddenly the scissors strayed from the paper and headed toward the couch.  I just said, "Hey!"  My perception: 'You are going to wreck this couch and it's not even ours!'  Her perception, 'These scissors can cut ANYTHING!'  Fortunately I didn't say anything else, because in her exuberance over the miraculous technology of scissors she entirely forgot what she was doing.  My little, "Hey!" brought her back and she went back to paper, lol.  But we were both right.  :)


Comments (4)

I'm a strong believer in recogising that perception is everything.

Isn't great how it can affect our parenting for the better?

This is so true!

Have you read Hugh Brody on the differences between hunter-gatherers and farmers? I've found his book "The Other Side of Eden" brilliant on what he calls analogue versus digital thinking. Digital thinking is black/white; right/wrong etc. Whereas analogue is event by event, open to all shades of grey, because there is not a prior attempt to classify. He links this to mythical thinking: accepting what is, very pre-verbal, very image-oriented. The words come later.

And your post also reminded me of the distinction between metonymic and metaphoric thinking - in linguistics, the first is logical, linear, scientific; the second about likenesses. Because it links objects if they seem like one another, rather than follow on from one another, it's like surveying a landscape for similarities, and in this sense is broad rather than linear.

My passion is for stories. It struck me that stories need both a linear structure and a broad structure to work. In the same way, Einstein did the equations (linear), but dreamt of riding on a rainbow first (metaphoric). That enabled him to make a genuine discovery about relativity...

I do think you're on the crest of a major culture shift - why I find this blog so worthwhile and yes, inspirational.

Steve, thanks so much... one of the best compliments on my blog ever! lol

I have not read Hugh Brody, but it sounds very interesting - something that should be in my library right next to Daniel Quinn.

Thanks again, you made my day. :)

Bless you! I tell it like I see it :)

I'd like to check out Daniel Quinn. Is there a book of his you'd recommend to start with?

Brody is absolutely wonderful - a treat to read, and to quote copiously! He is an anthropologist who has worked many a long year with the Inuit and other tribes in Canada's north. So I guess you should be able to find his book pretty easily.