Defining “Outside the Box”

People who think “outside the box” had painted the box pink and pinned a donkey tail on you before you ever realized you were in a box and started to climb out.

“Just saying…”

Okay, this is a bit hyperbolic.  But truly innovative culture re-arrangers are few and far between.  That is the reason that the human species has existed and flourished for thousands upon thousands of years.  I used to say hundreds of thousands of years when talking about this, but the genetic bottleneck evident from about 70,000 years ago has me re-evaluating language, culture, and near extinction.

If we were all true innovators and novel experimentalists,we would have died out.  I sometimes, forgive me, use this classic “redneck joke” to illustrate the point.

Q: “What were the last words spoken by the Redneck?”

A: “Y’all watch this!”

My husband, a Professor and Organic Chemist, uses a three types of cell cultures and human cultures analogy.  I like his description, so I am pilfering it.

There are those who go out from the main culture to explore and never return.

There are those who go out from the main culture to the edges of where the first type have explored and bring information back to the main culture from the edges of exploration.

And of course there all the members of the main culture who stay where they are and maintain and renew the community.

Explorers, adventurers, and community members are how I like to think of these “types” of people.  Of course I recognize that any generalization can be proven to be overly general with one contrary example, but I do find the three types to be illustrative.   A society could not maintain itself if everyone went out to the edges of the wild where great risk and danger are the norm.

Creatives live at the edges of the box.  Most everyone I have ever met that I am tempted to categorize as non-mainstream are edgers but not outsiders.  Do we do a dis-service to the true innovator by granting cool, creator status to those who monitor edges and essence and blend their novel gleanings into the cultural batter?  Or are there truly more innovators than there once were because of the increasing pace and flow of information?



featured image from:  Pixabay

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