Upside Down

Have you ever looked at photograph of a human face upside down? It takes awhile for our eyes to process through our brain, to even be sure it is a face, much less a face we know.  Our automatic recognition of the world is keyed to frame and name the familiar. 
Today’s world can seem upside down. Accelerated change has made it almost impossible to find a fixed point that is not in flux. The shape of cities will alter as we go from cars we drive to cars that drive themselves. Drones multiply our capacities to see with 360 degree vision, both from above the landscape and within buildings .Think of astronauts floating in the space station, with no up nor down, somersaulting rather than walking. We relearn how to orient, how to pattern, while it’s all in motion.
Henry Ford said if he had asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses. If Steve Jobs had asked us, we could not have imagined icons that lead us to draw on a computer, icons that let us shop on a cell phone. So let’s be clear. Since we are in motion, since the new can come to us from any angle, we must start to see like a floating astronaut, alert in all directions.
Familiar patterns are coming to us upside down. Dylan the musician gave a concert in England in 1965 where the first half was his popular folksong style. The second half burst open with an electric band, full of unfamiliar sounds, that are now classics, such as Tell Me How Does It Feel from the song Like a Rolling Stone. Food is in fusion, from IndoChine to Tex Mex. Family systems now come in multiple combinations, as well as gender. It feels like a blend, a potpourri, but eventually fresh forms become their own new selves, like jazz, where African beats become American blues.
More voices are being heard today by more people than ever before. By voices I mean musicians, writers from all cultures, tech creations from drones to genomics. It is the age of participation, of networking, of the inane and the incredible in the same mix. It can disorient, seem raw, but also freshly intriguing, up to each of us to discern the pattern in unfamiliar terms, like recognizing a face upside down.