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The super power of connection

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By Jonathan Milne, Managing Director of The Learning Connexion

Fourth in the TLC Super Powers series

Is it an authentic Jackson Pollock painting? Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver from California, purchased a painting from a thrift shop for $5. Read on...

We are Nature, and Nature is us.

Everything is connected and affected by the cosmos; extending far beyond our partners and friends, (and we’re not talking astrology).

Solar storms on the sun influence life on earth, yet how these and other aspects of connection are made is not yet well understood. On a small scale, how does a pet know when its owner is coming home, and can humans share in this type of perception?

Many questions remain unanswered.

Much of today’s education is still based on separation of knowledge, (dividing subjects into separate groups, and then partitioning these into ever-smaller sections).

Reductionist science works on the principle that everything can be separated into smaller and smaller parts, (and it is time to consider how separation has contributed to a lot of today’s problems).

For example, our legal system is built around the notion that we can separate behaviour into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Parliamentary decisions, made on the basis of majority of yay or nay may appear sensible but can become dogmatic and undermine complex considerations that require far more than yes/no answers.

Historically, the human understanding of connectedness is possibly why religions came into being. In some cases, dogma intruded and morphed into wars of separation.

Present crises remind us again: connectedness is fundamental to the world’s wellbeing.

We must pay attention to how our actions affect the world.

At TLC we begin with a relatively neutral statement.

“Look after yourself; look after others; look after the environment.”

This allows for differences of opinion, but does not impose beliefs on others.

The puzzle is to figure how to be connected and disconnected at the same time.

Disconnection has much to do with ‘free will' and creativity.

TLC encourages people to ‘evolve’ their ideas and processes. There is no contradiction. Yes, we all evolve and, yes, we are connected. Each one of us is challenged to weave these two processes together.

Our exploration of materials makes it easier to understand. Our materials are what they are, with their own way of being and their own dogma-free way of interacting.

When we look at how Nature works there are two big features. One is balance and the other is turbulence. Both balance and turbulence are aspects of connection.

This is how art works, too. When you see trends, you see art adapting – its one stable dimension is connection.

Another aspect of connexion is ‘style’. There’s a documentary called Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock (headline image). Rip-off art remains common but the drips and wiggles of this work had a fractal dimension that fitted Pollock (see Fractal analysis of Pollock's drip paintings | Nature). The paint matched the chemistry of Pollock’s paint and also contained evidence of his own fingerprint. The forensic investigation revealed connections and authenticity and established provenance (authentication of origin).

An underlying puzzle is why it’s so difficult to do art that doesn’t communicate who you are. Is it possible that every move we make has a connection to our ‘self’?

beatlesYou can ask the same question about music. How come Bach and Beethoven don’t sound like the Beatles?

And how is it that the Beatles DO sound like the Beatles even though their music did a great deal of evolving?

How can we be ourselves and at the same time connect with life, the universe and everything? The ‘super power’ of connection is the ticket. Oscar Wilde was on to it when he said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Stay open and keep discovering. Your personal ‘mark’ will evolve in its own way. If you maintain integrity you’ll sustain a ‘self’ that will naturally be ‘connected’.

Some ‘exercises’ for CONNECTION

  1. Look through things/processes that interested you in the past. What did your drawings/photos, etc. indicate? What were your hobbies? What places would you like to visit? Which people (alive or not) would you love to meet? What is their connection with you?
  2. Consider whether you’ve been doing things because you were told (e.g. for a test/exam; to get a better job; to please someone). What would you do if it was just for you?
  3. Imagine having a conversation with a famous person who you find ‘difficult’. Vladimir Putin; Xi Jinping; Novak Djokovic… and you might consider NZ politicians such as Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark, Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern.
  4. Think of a life form you don’t like. What would happen if it was removed?
  5. Lastly, if information cannot be lost … (see below)


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