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Seeing Nuance – Nerdful Mind #126

June 12, 2022 by Simon Mannes

Have you ever heard the phrase “subcultures are fractal”?

The same is true for almost everything.

From social interactions over thoughts in your mind, not ending with movements, definitions, or feelings.

Nuance is one of those things that once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

It’s everywhere.

That's what makes learning new movements or practicing a new sport hard because your body is just not capable of doing these nuanced movements you need.

It also makes social interactions hard because of a multitude of reasons.

Other people might have different or more nuanced definitions of things. Maybe you are not yet fully aware of the nuances the other person uses to communicate with you, or that you cannot produce the nuances necessary to communicate with this other person smoothly.

But despite all the difficulties, nuance is one of those things that makes our life beautiful. Without nuance, humans would be correct to put things into categories.

And there lies a lot of danger in denying these nuances. If we are not aware that somebody has a more nuanced definition of a word or concept, communicating with them will be pretty hard. And if we put large groups of people into boxes and decide not to see the nuances, we rob them of their individuality, creating potential for conflict.

How to practice seeing nuance

Because nuance touches every corner of our life, there’s no one-size-fits-all exercise to practice this. Everyone has difficulties seeing nuances in different areas than others, but I found two things to help me practice this.

First: really making sure, in a discussion, that everybody involved has the same understanding of the words and concepts used. Take a step back and ask: “what exactly do you mean by that?”

Second: trying to notice when we use categories or labels. And then trying to see the subgroups of this. “The media”, “conservatives” and “progressives” are just as nuanced as “testers”, “developers” and “agile”.

Aspire to see nuance. To create it. And aspire to make other people see it.

Nuance creates sensitivity. And sensitivity fosters deep consideration for each other that we need so much more of in this world.

Reading Recommendations

How to Teach Mindfulness: Your Ultimate Course and Guide

“The most important aspect of teaching mindfulness is to have a practice of your own. Many training courses will tell you it is vital to have a consistent personal practice before teaching others. …”

Who decides what words mean?

“Why language might be the optimal self-regulating system. Bound by rules, yet constantly changing, language might be the ultimate self-regulating system, with nobody in charge.”

Beautiful Code. Can something as dry as a computer program be called art?

“In software, the most beautiful code, the most beautiful functions, and the most beautiful programs are sometimes not there at all.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Sit upright.

Imagine a steady stream of warm, liquid sunlight passing from the top of your head through your body.

It fills your whole body over 2-3 minutes, starting with your feet. Then it fills your legs, lower body, upper body, arms, and head.

The liquid sunlight feels warm and releases all tensions.

When your body is filled, enjoy the feeling for a few moments before finishing the exercise.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!