Glimpsing Beyond the Bubble

Thinking about solutions, thinking about change. I often find my mind stuck inside a paradigm, like a bubble not allowing me to see, to understand, to imagine, to intuit the changes that might be possible. I can think of change within my bubble; how we might do this thing or that thing differently, and how it might affect my life, your life, their lives. The bubble, though, always constrains my imagination. I can think only right up to the edge of it, to its shimmering surface, but the light strikes it just so, and I can’t see beyond.

Think of a billiards table. A number of balls strewn about, and a cue ball in hand. There are any number of shots I can play within the rules of the game…inside this bubble. Every one of them a chance, a change, with a number of predictable outcomes. But you’re constrained by the rules to play only certain shots, and with only once cue ball, and with only one cue, and to only strike certain balls, and to only play on one table, and on, and on. But what if those rules can change? What if you can push them, bend them, twist them? Now your possible shots and possible outcomes have changed…possibly grown, possibly become more appealing, but definitely changed.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse beyond my bubble. It doesn’t pop, but a shadow passes by and allows me to see possibilities if I could just stretch the edge of my bubble a little bit farther. If we could just bend, twist, and push some of these rules, some of these assumptions, so many new possibilities lay just outside our understanding. A little fracture opens up in the paradigm, possibilities become visible that had never before been grasped.

Think about maternity and paternity leave. Think of the absurdity that these are a luxury. Why? Because they negatively affect productivity. Time, as the saying goes, is money, and money is king. Productivity equals gains at the margin, and this is what drives a capitalist economy. We must always consider the almighty margin lest we fall behind our competitors, lest we flounder and fail. But look around and tell me what you see. Cars, sometimes 2 or 3 or 10 to a person; I see houses larger than a family of 4 might live in for a couple alone; boutique stores, high end grocers, expensive restaurants; I see wealth and abundance all around (though not equally shared). Outside this bubble that constrains me to the capitalist mindset, I see the possibility of wholesale change. We cannot provide more maternity leave for the new mother inside this paradigm because it is a paradigm of constant competition, not cooperation. I can argue easily why it is inefficient to grant more time, why it will cause failure. But outside of this paradigm, outside of this bubble…we have the capability to produce beyond our wildest dreams, and should we choose to share it there would be abundance for all. Outside my bubble, I can see maternity and paternity leave as a basic right granted to all because we’ve forgotten about scarcity, about price, about the margin. But I can only see it. The bubble hasn’t burst, and the shadow passes, and my view is obstructed once again.

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