Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perception in the balance.

Every person with a normal inner ear is equipped with the ability to sense balance. Your vision and spatial perception also collaborate in this upright process. Maintaining balance is a basic human survival instinct. We're all born with a fear of falling.

What happens when balance gets thrown off? The combination of low blood pressure and general squeamishness has led me down the fainting road a time or ten. It was worse when I was younger. When faced with the spelling word "vein", it was all I could do to get my shaky hand to spell it out. It wasn't until fifth grade that I had my first real battle with balance composure. My science teacher was graphically describing the bleeding difference between cut veins and arteries. This seemed to go on for an eternity. Tunnel vision kicked in and I could only see her and her hand gestures. My breathing and her echoing rant were amplified. Lightheaded, pale, and dizzy, I made my way out of there as inconspicuously as possible. I didn't officially pass out until I reached the school nurse's couch. From that point on, I tried to recognize the fainting symptoms early and deal accordingly.

Funny thing is, I'm a horror movie fan. The only time this juxtaposition went awry was at the theater, after Hannibal. If you remember the last scene… lots of audio clues as to what is going on, but you are left to your imagination for quite a while. Then when you finally do see everything, it is beyond disturbing. I made it outside and thought I had things under control, but no. Darkness ensued. I came to with my concerned friends hovering over me, cell phones at the ready. Being the advertising-type that I am, the first thing I said upon consciousness was, "I just sold a shitload of tickets to the next show."

So physically, we can agree balance is a good thing. Conceptually though, should balance be offset? Can we leverage what we know against new connections?

"Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum strong enough, and single-handed I can move the world." - Archimedes
Balance is synonymous with stability. Stability is a desired trait, but not usually associated with new thinking. Aesthetically, off balance things are more intriguing. Creating new perceptions while juggling existing beliefs builds forward-thinking momentum. Figuratively speaking, let's not be afraid of falling and walk the edge every now and then.


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