We Live the Feeling of Our Thinking
This picture just captivates me.
On one level I am drawn to its wonderful creativity. I bought the door stop pictured below for my office door out of sheer respect for whoever the person was who thought of it. This kind of creativity needs to be rewarded.
I have to tip my cap to this artist of the chain link fence picture as well. On another level, though, this picture goes so much deeper than just creativity. What is it saying to you? The chain link fence, ubiquitous, a comparatively cheap and efficient way to keep something in or keep something out, strong, you can see what is on the other side, yet you cannot reach it. The design of the fence itself is a model of conformity and permanence. Its tightly wound wire states very emphatically that “you can’t get out.”
Yet in this picture, not only can someone get past this fence now, the fence itself is breaking free. The very instrument of control, force, and restriction is itself becoming instruments of freedom. Dead weight has become helium. Anchors have become wings.
It is easy to see ourselves in the picture, both in the lock-step control of the lower part of the fence and in the links breaking free in the upper part of the fence. Optimism spills out from the picture, even if only to feel good for the links flying into the distance. “Good for you,” we whisper. “Good for you.” So powerful are the images of the links as wings that even the total grayness of the picture cannot keep us feeling gray.
Of course, we need not only whisper, good for you. The links taking off to who knows where can be us. Those freedom loving links can represent our new way of being, our new view of the world, our recognition that we can choose to leave a tightly wound focus on control.
It would be interesting to use this picture as part of an assignment in school. I can see it easily being used in creative writing for Language Arts, or for activities in Health class, or Social Studies, or Bible. What are some thought questions that could open the discussion in a class setting? Such questions might include –
What is this picture saying?
What did the artist want to convey?
The caption under this picture said that We Live the Feeling of Our Thinking. What does that mean?
Did someone need to cut the links to free them or did they free themselves?
Does this picture suggest that fences are bad and that being free of them is the goal?
Is there such a thing as a good fence?
What would make a fence less good, or even bad?
What do you think? How could this picture be used in a classroom or in a choice theory workshop? How could the picture’s creativity and insight really be plugged into? What questions would you add to those listed above?
* This post is reprinted from January 31, 2015
You could ask:
What would you need to change in your Wants or Quality World for this picture to happen?
Are there things that you see as the bottom of the picture and someone else sees as the top?
What is something that is originally the bottom of the fence and as time passes it changes into the top?
Are the “birds” helping or hurting?
Thank you, Sonya.
These are the kind of questions I was hoping to see.
Your first question – What would you need to change in your Wants or Quality World for this picture to happen? – is especially significant to me.
Wonderful stuff; thanks. Might ask people who prefer the birds to stand to one side and the people who prefer the fence stand to another and then match up opposites as partners and invite them to share the meanings the images hold. A sort of ice breaker, mixer, teaching point of course about the pictures in our heads, about perception. Could also ask people to freewrite on fences and flight and share reflections in small groups of three or in partners (freewrite on the images for five minutes—call time—now go back and circle the three words that jump out at you as though they are written in neon, words that are high value, have intensity; pick one, now write on that one for another five minutes. Then: what have you learned about yourself? Share in big group if you feel like it (OK to withhold).
Jim, I always self check an exercise; that is, I do it to myself or with another person before I use it….just to be sure …
I loved this article then and am grateful to read it again. Thanks,Jim for keeping us thinking and feeling.