Victor Papanek writes about when he visiting an Inuit tribe. At one point he was showing some children photographs of where he lived. As they stood in a circle while he went through the pictures, he noticed none of the usual jostling to get a good view of the images from the upright position. He realised the children were capable of reading the pictures from any angle, even upside down.
The Inuit are masters of observation, they need to be as the landscape they inhabit is white and practically detail-less. A miss calculation of a few meters finding there way home from fishing in a white-out could be fatal. The Inuit are capable of carving maps of the coast line that are accurate to satellite images. They have been known to fix engines on broken-down airplanes that they had never seen before.
The Inuit have mastered these skills from the very young over generations, without them they couldn’t survive the harshness of their environment. Their mind is also free to think without the baggage of formal education and the trappings or distractions we suffer in the city.
In the west, we lose a lot of theses skills of observation and using logic. We are getting the same perspective pumped into our heads constantly. Education to us in lots of ways means compulsive training for industry, the use of experts for the problems we encounter, mass consumerism and all the propaganda that goes with it. Hardly surprising some of us find it difficult to think.
Like the Inuit we need to tailor our survival skills to our environment. We need to try to look at the world from different perspectives in order to form a proper evaluation as to what is happening. Sometimes referred to as. “Thinking outside the box”