Robert Poynton
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People are oceans not objects

November 23, 2014 – 1 min read


l like the idea of thinking of people as oceans rather than objects. Whilst it is neat and tidy to identify people as objects, we are more complex than that. Context shapes who we are far more than we realise and in some ways, we blur into each other (something I have written about before). There are various aspects of the oceans metaphor I like.

For example, we don’t have a problem referring to the Atlantic or the Indian ocean, yet when you get down to the Cape of Good Hope, its obvious that we can’t be too definitive about where one ends and another begins. I also like the idea that oceans are deep and mysterious. I have heard tell that we know the surface of the moon better than the depths of the oceans. And every time some brave submariner with a new bit of amazing kit descends a bit further into those hidden depths they find extraordinary, unlikely creatures, alive and well down there in the darkness, or in the scorching heat of volcanic vents.

Then there is the fact that ocean currents flow in different, often opposite directions at different depths and in different regions and in different seasons.

So as metaphor, it invites us (or reminds us) to see ourselves as the complex, fluid, unresolved, fuzzy, contradictory beings we are.

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