Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three dimensions of thought

As much as we move in the three spatial dimensions of length, width, and height, we think in ways that parallel these dimensions:

The height continuum, above and below, involves seeing things either from a bird's eye perspective, where ideas lose their vividness and high definition yet are seen as part of a larger structure or network. A shift from the specific to the more general. A kickflip, for example, can be appreciated in isolation, where one contemplates the details specific to it, or, it can be viewed from above, as part of the family of 'flip tricks' (as opposed to full body rotation tricks, etc).

The length dimension involves seeing things as a continuous process of cause and effect. For instance, one can recall their initial attempts at landing a kickflip, see how one performs the flip in the present, and imagine how one can extend or improve the flip in the future. One can look at a trick, or at one's own skating in general, from behind or in front.

The width dimension entails an openness to diversity. It's the ability to see parallel elements of skateboarding, appreciate, and even combine them together. Ramp skateboarding, technical flatland skateboarding, and heavy transitional street skating all have a place and can even be blended together to form new skateboarding styles and manoeuvres. A particularly good example of width in a skaters approach is the accomadation of both 'old school' and 'new school' forms of skating. 

However, these dimensions aren't as separate as they may seem: each dimension influences or converges with the others. Thus, viewing skateboarding from above can aid perception of breadth and length since one's view becomes more encompassing, whereas a bottom-up view is limited to a detail and can loose sight of  length or breadth. On the other hand, if one ascends too high, the length or width dimensions of skating become so vague as to be rendered invisible.

Length may also converge with breadth. For example, lengthwise we see how skateboarding has evolved over several decades. Yet, in this process it has given rise to the old school/ new school dichotomy of skating which relates to the breadth dimension of parallel styles all the same...


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