I don’t know why this popped into my head, but it did, so now I will tell a little story.
When I was in grade 12 I decided to take a philosophy class. I didn’t have a particular interest in philosophy at the time, and I definitely didn’t think it would be at all useful to me. I just thought it would be interesting. I think philosophy gets a bad rap in this day and age. But, I think that philosophy turns you into a critical thinker. It gets you to take a look at your everyday surroundings and ask, why? Why are things the way they are and how did they get to be this way? It stops you from taking the world for granted. It makes you question, instead of just accepting things at face value. For these reasons I think that philosophy is very useful indeed.
But I digress…
I don’t really remember much from that class, but the one thing I do remember is one particular assignment. We were required to make paper cranes. I think we were supposed to make at least 5 of varying sizes and colours. It was up to us to figure out how to fold them. That was it. That was the entire assignment.
I don’t remember what the philosophy was supposed to be though. All I remember is the Japanese legend that tells that when you fold a thousand origami cranes you will be granted a wish, so maybe that was it?
I remember trying to fold a paper crane. It was difficult. I still don’t understand origami instructions. They usually have little pictures of what the paper is supposed to look like at each step with little to no written instructions beside each image. You know, kind of like this:
I remember getting frustrated and nearly giving up when I asked a friend of mine who was in the class if they had figured it out. She had. I asked her to show me how to do it. Step by step we went through how to fold a paper crane. She made one and I made one at the same time. And just like that, something clicked and I could make more of them without a problem.
After that, looking at the instructions, each step made sense. But before, without someone to physically show me what to do, it might as well have been gibberish or written in code for all I could understand it.
Thinking of this, I wanted to see if I still remembered how to make a paper crane. As you may have guessed, from the pictures above, I remembered. It’s been years since I’ve taken that class and honestly if you ask me what the philosophies of John Locke or Voltaire are, I couldn’t tell you. That, I’ve forgotten. But ask me to make a paper crane and I’m all over that like white on rice. It’s funny what sticks with you isn’t it?