It’s a common enough expression, but what, exactly does it mean to “think outside the box?”
I suppose, the first thing to do is to define what exactly is “the box.” It might help to play a little game of word association — to understand the connotations associated with the word “box”. One may think of constraints and limitations of some sort, especially in one’s thinking. To be “boxed in” is to be entrapped and contained. One may imagine a prison cell or a tiny cubicle. One may think of the pressures of conformity with the norms and conventions of society. One may think of a “jack in the box” — a child’s toy with a glove puppet on a tightly wound spring compressed inside a tiny space, ready to pop up out of its confines with the flip of switch. One may think of the “idiot box” — television — the most widely deployed medium of mass communication in our society — frequently regarded as a popular means for mega-corporations to perpetuate a never-ending doctrine of dumbed-down banality, conventionality, and mindless conformity and consumerism.
Each of these concepts associated with the word “box” are relevant and meaningful in their own way. Ultimately, we cannot define the word exactly, in this context — it is defined by its connotations and associated iconography.
Once we have an idea of what we mean by “box”, the notion of something being “out-of-the-box” becomes pretty self evident.
Evidently, to think outside the box is to challenge convention and question the status quo. An out-of-the-box idea may be said to be one that redefines established paradigms of reality or one that takes one’s thinking to a new level — a refreshing, life-changing, liberating, ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting mode of thinking. It may be said to be an idea that brings about enlightenment and new understanding instead of a sense of fear or entrapment. It may be described as a revelation or an epiphany, a fresh perspective or a higher vibration — in other words, an eye-opening experience. Some examples that readily come to mind include Einstein’s Theories of Relativity, Newton’s Laws of Motion and Kepler’s heliocentric model of the solar system – all of which were revolutionary, out-of-the-box ideas in their times which dramatically reshaped and challenged established paradigms of reality.
The point of this new blog is to highlight some interesting ideas I have come across that challenge convention and have had a dramatic impact on my life. These ideas are not merely new physical or mathematical theorems — they are ideas from a variety of disciplines and spheres of thinking. Some of them are esoteric ideas that defy categorization into any modern university curriculum. Others are ancient modes of thinking that have been forgotten and have quite recently been rediscovered. They are ideas about the nature of reality, about human performance, about developing enhanced skills and abilities and about how the world really operates. The common thread running through each of these ideas is that they are intriguing, fascinating, profoundly unconventional and most certainly out-of-the-box. They have the potential dramatically to transform one’s life or, at least, to open one’s mind to powerful new modes of thinking and understanding — if one is open-minded enough to take them into serious consideration instead of dismissing them out of hand.
It must be stated, however, that none of the ideas that I intend to showcase in my blog involve any ethical compromise or violation of what I consider to be fundamental principles of decency and morality. They may, certainly, impel one seriously to question one’s framing of reality and expose the limitations of one’s modes of thinking. But I would never intentionally seek to promote any idea that I would consider to be a violation of some fundamental ethical principles that I personally hold sacred — such principles as honoring the sanctity of life, upholding truth and justice, having compassion for others, having common decency and humanity and, most especially, abiding by the Golden Rule of doing to others as one would have done to oneself.
I write this blog out of a sense of positivity, optimism and hope – a belief that by entertaining such ground-breaking ideas, our lives may profoundly be changed for the better and that all people may thrive and flourish in ways that may never previously have been imagined or, indeed, imaginable.
Here’s looking forward to an incredible voyage of discovery into a new world of incredible out-of-the-box ideas!