Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Freeing Earth From Thought Grids

This is Earth on your thoughts. Each of us uses a grid of beliefs to navigate the terrain of life. With this thought grid, we categorize ourselves, society, nature and anything else that that passes through our minds. It defines if we stand on the political left or right; the work we consider high and low; the people we push away and those we pull close. Our thought grid outlines our network of community and our links to ecological web.

Everything we encounter is immediately filtered through our thought grid. Is the face passing on the street beautiful or ugly? Is the food on the plate tasty or bland? Is that fragrance on the breeze sweet of putrid? From the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the moment we close them at night we take the vastness of the world and squeeze it between the lines of our belief grid.

On the one hand, a grid of categories is essential. The body separates digestible grains from indigestible pebbles. It divides warm, dry habitable rooms from cold, damp inhabitable boxes. It's helpful to agree that red light mean stop and green lights mean go. On the other hand, most of the categories in our belief grids are merely preferences. Salad is not really better or worse that soup. Red is not closer to the truth than blue. Gold is not really more valuable than lead.

Clashing thought grids result in wars, arguments, oppression, persecution and all manner of conflicts. Thought grids that attempt to harness and control the ecosystem cause pollution, fragmentation and the loss of plant and animal species.

Thought grids are as essential to being human as breathing. Our brains are grid making machines. By their very nature they distinguish light from dark, gain from loss, earth from sky, self from other. The problem is that we attempt to make them solid and fixed rather than allowing them to be transparent and fluid. When we can see through a flexible grid, we can maintain healthy boundaries while being responsive the changes circumstances. There is much more to say about this. But, for now, perceive the grid of beliefs shaping your thoughts and imagine it as a shifting gauze rather than unmoving steel.


  1. Good morning Anthony,

    Have a question, do you know the book The divine Matrix of Gregg Braden. I'm in the process of reading it and thought of it while reading your post.

  2. Good Morning Elizabeth,

    I haven't read the Divine Matrix. This post comes from my observation that we naturally look for connections to map the world. Then we take those maps for the world and miss the vivd reality right before our eyes.