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The Myth of the box

It is not a philosophical or a complicated theory, it is just too simple idea that nobody seems to see it or understand it, the myth of the box is just one of many false believes that most of people are highly convinced with, to the extent of inevitability. Yet, it is not a complete wrong concept; it is just a huge misunderstanding.
“You have to think outside of the BOX”
I think all of you believe in such phrase, but this is the core of the myth. If you can answer the following question, then you can prove me wrong “Whose BOX is that?”
Who is the real owner of this box that everybody thinks inside it but scientists and philosophers advise you to think outside of it? Do you know the answer?
Yes, yes, you may think that this box is our community’s box, our culture’s box, our environment’s box, or even our tradition’s box. But that still doesn’t answer the core question “Whose BOX is that?”
Just open your eyes to the simplest things ever, “You are a master piece”, you are not like anybody, you have your own DNA, and to the last of these words. You have your own everything, so why you don’t have your own box to think in.
Since I heard this phrase, I only had one question, if I think outside of the box; I just will be lost in big space with zero gravity, so is that a right thing to do?, and then it hit me, I have my own box that nobody seems to have, a lot of other people of safety lovers and traditions worshipers, tend to clone their boxes from others of the same species, just cause they think that if they do the same things they will get the same results, so I am not in a void space, I am in a box also but a unique one.
I am happy with my box; it is a real big one, filled up with dreams, thoughts, good deeds, sins, and every little thing that makes me who I am. My box can be modified, can be updated and can be flexible enough to adapt with the lessons I learn in life.
You have one, everybody has a box, its shape and its direction, are your responsibility, I can talk t

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    May 4 2014: Aser, you start out wondering about "the Myth of the box," and ask "Whose BOX is that?." and then you answer your own questions, which at the same time dispels the "Myth."

    If someone suggests that you should "think outside the box," they are suggesting that you should think outside of YOUR box that you have created for yourself. However, you said "I am in a box also but a unique one. I am happy with my box..." So, apparently you like to think inside your box rather than outside your box, because inside of your box your boxed in thinking tells you that's a good place to be thinking. That's just what our boxes do to us.

    We come into this Life with all of our potentials and all of our possibilities ahead of us. Then we begin to learn limitations. These limitations we learn are the construction materials we use to build our boxes. And, yes, each of us builds a unique box because each of us is unique and we use lots of more or less unique materials.

    Some of our box construction materials we may share more or less in common, based on culture, language, environment, conditions and circumstances, yet we still each respond and react to these influences in our own ways. Other components of one's box may be very unique. But the result is always a box. Or a fence, or horizon or whatever limiting structure you might want to envision it as. And it is indeed self-limiting, self-restricting, self-impeding.

    The good news is that it is also self-imposed, based upon the limitations we have learned. That means we can un-learn these limitations and open up renewed potentials and possibilities for ourselves. This is what "think outside the box" suggests - break down at least part of your box so you can see beyond it. Rise above your limitations so you can see farther - like climbing a tree or mountain or going up in a balloon or plane so your horizon recedes the higher you ascend and you can see farther and wider...

    It's your box, you can do whatever you want to with it.
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      May 13 2014: I really wanted to say something like you did, but my lack of words in english did not permited it. But completly agree with all that you said.
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        May 13 2014: Thank you, Said. So now you did get to say what you wanted to say - more or less - by affirming what I said. May your box grow ever larger ...
  • May 1 2014: Thinking outside the box is an expression. It means to think past what most people imagine. One way of thinking outside the box is to cast aside known "facts".
    There is a nice example in Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card. The given problem is faster then light travel. In order to think outside the box on this problem, you cast away linear speed, the fact that nothing can travel faster then light and now, without any "limitations", come up with a way to move from one point to another instantly. The book describes a way in which we step out of the physical universe to "outside", something that has no space, time, form or anything like that. There are "Philotes" which have a predisposition to jump into a specific "empty vessel". Whenever the universe has an "empty vessel" like this, a Philote will jump from the "outside" into the physical universe we know. Everything is made up of Philotes and they bind everything together. All the Philotes that make up a person were "predispositioned" in the "outside" to form this specific person. At the moment of conception of that person in the physical universe, this person's Philotes jumped from the "outside" into our known physical universe to create him.

    Now if through sheer thought and concentration a person could control the Philotes that make up his being, he could think himself from the physical universe to the "outside". Then keeping himself in existence on the "outside" through keeping a mental image of himself, he could exist "outside".

    Now, on the "outside" he could think himself back into the physical universe at any location he wants and instantaneously come into existence there.

    This is an "out of the box" way of coming up with faster then light travel. To think of it, you put aside what is generally accepted as a given or a fact and continue from there.

    Most people are locked in by "facts", "laws" and other presumptions about the world that block them from imagining the unimaginable.
    • May 2 2014: There is only one reality. What if it is all inside the box? Am I thinking outside the box, now?
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        • May 2 2014: I might get hurt so, please, just tell me, how many realities are there? I hope there's only one. Everybody else says there's only one.
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        May 13 2014: I don't find your comments about boredom in various discussions to be at all helpful. Yes, people get bored, but that doesn't totally rule their lives. Because you're researching boredom, I'll contribute this from my life experience.

        When my daughter was young, she would sometimes say "I'm bored." I would respond with "I can find something for you to do." She would generally interpret that to mean I would find some task for her to do, so she would immediately become un-bored by coming up with something interesting to do ... to avoid doing some work I might assign. it was that easy to cure her boredom. It has been a l-o-n-g time - at least a couple of decades - since I've heard her say "I'm bored."
  • May 7 2014: I agree with you, I really don't know what the theory is behind cubism but it makes for some interesting pictures. I thought cubism popular in the 70's ie, the Rubik's Cube and it morphed into "What Color is Your Parachute" Requisite reading for the college set. Or I think they called themselves Young Urban Professionals. In any case thinking outside your box was a common theme in the early 80's before everyone had a computer if that can be imagined.

    I posted some links for grins to Cubist art at the MOMA and a Wikipedia definition.
  • May 6 2014: The box is not so much an individual box for each person as a general consensus of sets of rules and assumptions. The moment that you start asking 'how do I get out of my box" you probably never will. You have already assumed that you are limited by some box and therefore will not be able to see beyond it.
    For example, between sexes, it is generally "known" that women look for men with a good earning potential to supply for the family. In the same way it is "known" that men choose women more by their looks then anything else. Most people take this as facts and therefore, these rules are part of "the box". It has been scientifically proven that these "known facts" are untrue, but still most people believe it's true and so it is part of their limitations.
    People that are able to cast aside these assumptions or "known facts" are thinking outside the box of the people that are bound by their (false) belief in these "known facts".
    In a way, outside the box is a relative term. To think completely outside the box is to fantasize without any limitations of any kind. No laws of nature, no known facts, nothing given. It is (nearly) impossible to think like that after having had any kind education or upbringing, since part of the process is teaching facts and rules.
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    May 4 2014: You say outside of the box there is just big empty space with zero gravity. If outside of the box there is nothing, then that must mean that inside of the box there is everything we know.
    By that definition, thinking outside of the box is impossible. It muddles our reality. There is no way of comprehending this outside space, because it embodies what we do not know. If our knowledge consists of the box, then once we gain knowledge it becomes apart of our box. That is why our curiosity is insatiable. We are waiting to gain knowledge that will allow us to step outside of this box, but it is impossible. All that is unknown will remain unknown, because when we learn it, well.. we will know it. (We as in humans)

    I would say that your revelation that the box was yours was you actually redefining what the box was to you.

    I think a better question would be, "What's inside the box?" And then we could learn what's outside out it and why we should be thinking out there, and who owns it. Majority of people believe that if you think outside of the box, you're thinking in an individual and unique way. That means inside the box must be an expected and traditional way of thinking. By that definition, everyone (society) that influences your traditional way of thinking created the box.

    If you own the box and think inside of it, that means outside of it is everything that doesn't consist of you. However, if your box can fluctuate and be modified, as you say, then what is the point of thinking outside of it? It invalidates the metaphor. The box is no longer a box, at that point. It is you. It is you being shaped by your "outside", or everything else you are influenced by.

    The whole box metaphor is a bit to vague for my taste. Whatever you believe is inside and outside of the box determines who it belongs to. For me, it belongs to no one because I don't associate with this metaphor. I think everywhere that I find it possible to place my thoughts, and there is no box in existence.
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      May 5 2014: Everyone I know has habitual patterns of thinking. Based on my experience, I suspect you have some habitual thought patterns, too, Charlie, and therefore a box. These habits of thought effectively constitute a self-limiting box that a person has the option of thinking outside of, by simply not following their usual habitual patterns and instead somehow directing or allowing one's thoughts to wander further than usual, or perhaps further than ever before.

      Ownership is an interesting consideration. We own the boxes we build for ourselves; the limitations we learn and live with. But we tend to become unconscious of our self-imposed limitations, even while living with and limited by them. In that situation, our boxes effectively own us.

      What is inside the box is what we are familiar with and used to, and perhaps comfortable with or particularly afraid of - all the things we pay attention to. What is outside the box are all the things we are ignorant of or that we ignore - all the things we do not pay attention to. There are a lot more things that we ignore than the limited set of things we pay attention to.

      When we intently and continually focus our attention on something, we tend to blind ourselves to other things that aren't within our focus of attention. We can shift our focus, but as we do so in order to include different things, we lose focus on the previous things. We can continually shift around to include many things, in serial fashion, and our memory makes it seem as though we're focusing on many things all at the same time, but it can be sort of an illusion.

      An no matter how much we shift our focus around, we only cover a tiny percentage of all the possible things there are available to focus on. So there's lots outside our range of focus - outside of our box - even as we try to be more inclusive and holistic in our attention and thinking.

      That said, we can expand our awareness dramatically through our intuition, which is very different from thinking.
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        May 5 2014: This is true. I was merely saying that this metaphor can mean different things to different people. I dispel it all together because it frustrates me, LOL.

        A thought-
        If you think outside of the box, aren't you still thinking inside of the box? While thinking outside of the box, aren't you still being selective of what you choose to focus on and limiting yourself to some degree? Your level of willingness to accept things outside of your box is inside your box, right? Once it is something you are absolutely no longer at willing to do, you've stepped completely out of your comfort zone, and... outside of your box?

        How do we know when we've stepped outside of it?At the slightest inkling of discomfort or at the greatest? I happen to be fine with a bit of discomfort at times. Is this inside my box?
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          May 5 2014: I think a good case can be made for saying - thinking ? - that all of our thinking is inside a box because there's no way we can encompass all and everything within our limited capacity to think. So, "think outside the box" suggests, I think, that we think outside of our usual box, our usual limitations, our habitual patterns. However, this still leaves us with limitations that constitute an expanded version of our box - which is still a box. So, you can think outside your usual box, but you'll still be inside your expanded box. That means that saying "the box" doesn't work because it's two different boxes, whereas "the box" implies it's the same box.

          But consider that there may be somewhat of a difference in the construction of these two boxes. Whereas our usual box consists primarily of self-imposed limitations, our expanded version may be more limited simply by our lack of capacity for being more inclusive - there's only so much we can take in and process before becoming overwhelmed and succumbing to mental fatigue. Or we may simply be limited by the amount of time we have available to think things through and arrive at some decision. So, while the habitual box consists primarily of self-imposed limitations, the expanded box may consist more of limitation of practicality.

          So, I still think that "think outside the box" means to push past your habitual patterns of thought as far as you are able to. Stretch yourself a bit. But I don't think this can be evaluated according to discomfort felt when getting out of one's comfort zone. While this may sometimes be true for some people, it may also feel really good to break free of old habits and expand one's mental self and be stimulated by exploring new territory. It may be discomforting (frustrating) to be stuck in one's box and unable to mentally deal with challenging questions that seem to demand answers.
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    May 3 2014: You are absolutely right and I congratulate you on taking ownership of your box.

    However there really is great advantage to be gained by "thinking outside" our boxes simply because human beings are curious, many even crave ever more knowledge and no one has ever been able to obtain the totality of the universe's knowledge base in their own box. Hence the need to think outside it to continue to expand upon and be comfortable with one's box.

    Granted, no one has to think outside the box and there are plenty of interest groups that do not want anyone thinking outside the boxes they help to define and thereby constrain and direct us such as organized religions and political parties and the profit takers.
  • May 2 2014: Hi Dear Aser.What a fantastic topic about 'The myth of the box'.it reminds me why people feel curious of''box',from are we humanbeing born to feel curious about sth we don't know,can't see?but why students don't like to learn knowledge what they don't know?is it sth more than that,or anything to motivate that?just want to know what are in the box?or "the myth of the Box' just an metaphor?
  • May 8 2014: all of your respected replies are the main proof of my point of view, so your unique boxes are the outside of others' boxes, so that is what i am saying, if you want me to think outside of my box, then i will be thinking inside someone else's box, that is the the zero gravity point for me, it is like the space with numerous black holes, you can't just wonder around and don't have your own procpectives.
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      May 13 2014: If you think outside of your box, you might very well be thinking outside of anyone's boxes, too, might you not? You could, in your mind, go where no one else has ever gone before, which would be about as unique as possible.

      Also, unique boxes can overlap - they don't need to all have exclusive content, only a unique set of contents, or perhaps more accurately, a unique set of boundaries/limitations. So, for example, many boxes include cultural aspects that limit their scope and, by definition, cultural aspects are shared aspects. But even though individual boxes are unique, that doesn't mean they can't consist to a great extent of shared aspects, it's just that they aren't totally congruent; they're not identical.

      I still don't understand what you mean by "the zero gravity point" or "the space with numerous black holes" - that doesn't make any sense to me in this consideration of thinking inside or outside of boxes. It only seems like a confused misapplication of scientific terminology which doesn't at all help me see what you're trying to say. Gravity has to do with attractive force between objects due to their mass. Zero gravity could perhaps refer to a point between bodies where their gravitational pulls all cancel out. Black holes, however, are locations of extreme gravitational attraction - about as totally opposite zero gravity as you can get. Which is why your comments using these sorts of terms are confusing rather than helpful.

      I think you have some more thinking to do ...