World Views – what is in a piece of paper?

I was recently inspired by an idea shared by the poet and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn. An enquiry into the way we perceive the world around us. I thought I would share it with you as it highlights the importance of our own world view and how that shapes the way we make sense of things which in turn shapes our behaviours.

I invite you to do a little thought experiment:

  • Find a piece of paper, any paper will do.
  • Now take a few moments to observe it.
  • Write down a few words in answer to the question – What is in that piece of paper?

Most of us, including me, write down things which describe the look of the paper and what we think it might be made from; things like, its flexible, grainy, made from wood fibres etc. Few of us look beyond the material aspects of what is in front of us but if we think about it there is so much more…

If our sheet of paper is made from wood then there is a tree in our paper. The tree grew in a forest, on some soil, it needed sunlight, it needed water. The water came from rain, from a cloud, from the sea. All of these are in our paper. The tree was harvested by a lumberjack, perhaps they had porridge for breakfast and used a petrol powered chainsaw. They are also in our paper. So it goes on until we logically conclude that the universe is in our sheet of paper.

When we do this kind of experiment we realise that everything is interconnected and we need to step back and see the links to fully appreciate things. We are in the universe and it is in us.

Over the coming months I will be adding some new concepts to my web site – Regenerative Concepts – stepping beyond our focus on Climate to look at other parts of the planetary puzzle. To take our first step towards a regenerative future we need to realign our World Views. Moving from a way of seeing things as separate to seeing everything as interconnected; nothing as created or destroyed but simply transformed into something else; nothing as permanent but simply as part of a flow.

World Views – How aware are we of the mental models which shape us?

To keep up to date with the new Regenerative Concepts as they are released you can subscribe here.

One thought on “World Views – what is in a piece of paper?”

  1. I considered that it might be a mixture of different trees but I didn’t go further than that! Thanks for sharing.


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