We often hear mention of thinking “outside the box.” That’s usually thought of as being a good thing and I think it is. It’s by original thought that goes beyond our normal concepts that progress occurs. But I wonder if our “boxes” don’t extend deeper into our lives than we realize. Perhaps each of us structure our own boxes without even realizing it. Such boxes would be much harder to escape.
Where do such boxes come from? In these days of mass information they come from everywhere. There are many sources claiming to have the answer to any problem imaginable from diet to exercise to belief in God to success in life. Our acquaintances are willing to pass such solutions on in case we haven’t seen them on the internet. Add to this the power of the advertising industry, a little bit of prejudice (we all have some), a smidgen of ego (that too) and a good gollop of fear and . . . voila! A box—one we don’t realize we’re in or how we got there or how to get out of it.
All this is just my own ramblings and probably the product of the box I’m in and don’t know it, but it sounds to me as if there is more that a small amount of truth to it. You’ll have to make up your own mind about that. I believe, though, that such boxes are at the bottom of many of the troubles in this world. The problem is not the boxes themselves but the fact that we are so comfortable in them that we believe everyone should build a box just like it in which to be comfortable. And each of us is more than willing to furnish the plans and specifications for the project.
But what’s the solution? First of all getting out of the box; that’s the hard part. Then comes another hard task—not building another box to climb into. I suppose the way to stay out of boxes is to keep a totally open mind about everything—not believe everything but recognize that there may be value in everything and be willing to give everything a fair hearing. Now that’s really the hard part. At the bottom of each box we might find that there is just a little bit of truth in everything. If we could take each such little bit of truth and put them all together we could have something of great value. We just have to climb out of our own boxes to be able to see it.