Have you read A Wrinkle in Time? Madeleine L'Engle wrote it in 1962. I wished every adult, who was a child in 1962, had read it.
The father of Mag and Charles, a scientist working on a secret project, mysteriously disappears. The two kids, a friend and 3 magic creatures journey in the obscure galaxies to find their father. They discover that their father has been kept prisoner on the planet Camazotz for 5 years. IT is the ruler of the dark planet Camazotz. IT decides where people live, where they work, and how they behave. Camazotz habitants are part of a "collective consciousness", and any deviation from their prescribed role leads to harsh punishment.
IT is a brain with no body nor heart. Does it ring a bell? What Madeleine imagined and wrote in 1962 seems to be a very real world and not just a children’s book.
'To come in to me is the last difficult decision you need ever make.' - A Wrinkle in Time
Everyone looks alike on Camazotz, they all behave, think and do the same things, in the same order and according to the rules of IT. L’Engle evokes through the metaphor of IT the brain's “overpower”, reason without heart. IT, and the society IT creates is what happens when reason runs amok, untempered by the heart's compassion. IT represents the tyranny of conformity.
Like and Equal are not the same thing.
The heartless attempt to rationalise the human’s experience, the rationally objectivity we use as a lens of equality have stripped away the differences of our beings. TV, social media and trends have made all of us similar to each other. As a result of this alikeness, not only in terms of taste, desires or ambitions, we have become more and more exclusive, incapable - when not afraid - to accept and include anything that looks different. In a society where we all look alike, anyone or anything that is different stands out and is immediately pushed to the edges and excluded. The differences become not “fit for our culture”… Which culture? Certainly the one of those Camazotz ruled by IT.
Throughout our lives we are taught to conform with the illusion of being part of a crowd. Growing up, while we are still understanding and making sense of our identity, it is a relief to feel accepted and part of a majority. IT represents the illusion of safety. But what is the price of this apparent safety when we have to carve out part of our subjectivity to conform to the objectivity of its rules?
It is the struggle of all of us to be ourselves despite the pressure to be like everyone else. Our differences are what makes life worth living.
Are we sacrificing authenticity and diversity in name of objectivity? Answering this question requires us to overcome a lot of resistance as we all need to be validated, accepted, acknowledged. We apparently find this validation more frequently or easily into sticking to the norms rather then being a non-conformist. We are trained to walk the usual path, to weigh more the negative consequences and discomfort rather than the gain. Hence, we have a tendency to maintain the status quo.
I believe that if we want to live in a more inclusive world the path is not the one to create more rules for everybody to be equal rather the one to rebelling to the stereotypes and norms that create the fragmentation of self.
There is a powerful and peaceful way to rebel: making art. Choose today to make some art, any art, to express all the parts of yourself you have been excluded to conform to the “objective” standards you have been complying to.
Choose today to artistically represent your life experience in harmony with the one of others however different that might look like.
Have the courage to bring to light your whole self through art. Stand up against the IT demands to being objective. Make art not only for the applauses and validation that might come with the final artwork but for experiencing the process of making art… So subjective and yet universal.
In art there is room for great diversity, resist the temptation of comparing and standardise or “color within the lines” that flatten reality. We can still applaud others and choose our own way. The difference between choosing mere objectivity or choosing your unique subjective way is that only one will make you feel complete.
RNEWB offers a robust diversity of experiences, talks, workshops and programs that use storytelling, poetry and heARTistry in an innovative and yet practical methodology that has helped leaders and teams to reach their goals, tap into their creativity, broaden their awareness and improve trust within the organisations they lead. For more information please feel free to get in contact.