Truly Powerful People (303)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

In high school biology I remember dissecting frogs. We had a worksheet that guided our dissection, identifying internal organs, muscle groups, and the skeleton. We analyzed the component parts of a frog’s body, reducing it to smaller and smaller parts, reducing the small parts to even smaller component parts until we were looking at cells beneath a microscope. The lesson was designed for us to understand how all of those components, when reassembled, combined to be the body of a frog. Even then I was aware of how dependent my education was upon dissection and reduction: we diagramed sentences, we divided history into centuries, into decades, into years, into months, and so on. Synthesis, an action that is the opposite of analysis, was rare and generally discouraged.

As Joe recently said, “analysis is comfortable.” It leads us to believe that we know, that we are competent. If we can reduce it to its component parts then we can talk about it. We can agree on the functional purpose of the heart of the frog. The road of analysis leads to the city of Rules in the county of Doctrine in the state of Objectivity. It is useful, practical, and only half of the picture.

Synthesis is a walk in the other direction. It leads to greater and greater questions. It is to step toward uncertainty, to entertain possibilities, to have differing perceptions and points of view. To synthesize is to engage. To synthesize is to step into the picture and experience the frog hopping through your fingers. It is to touch life. It is another way of knowing, the kind that cannot be isolated or contained. It is the kind of knowing that requires poetry to articulate.

Our bias is our blind spot: to contain is not the same as to comprehend. There are many ways of knowing. To fully grasp what has value and what does not requires both analysis and synthesis. Our analysis bias is the line tripping educators and business alike. The test can tell you some things. The data can describe some things. There are a myriad of other things that tests and bottom lines can’t illuminate.

The same tenet applies to you. How much time do you spend analyzing your self, dissecting yourself, reducing your life to the component parts, focusing on the outcomes? Do you ever see your life as an ongoing process, as a miracle of connectivity, as a step into the unknown (do you really believe that you are containable, knowable)?

Think on this: To analyze the component parts of the frog it is necessary first to kill it. Do not be surprised when analyzing yourself that you wonder if you really matter or are confused about the greater meaning of life. To reach those experiences you first have to put down your scalpel and step into the dance.

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