The other day, during a deeper conversation with my 9 year old daughter, we discussed how by gaining knowledge and insights we can enrich our life and that of others. This is a daily process, and sometimes a “dot” or connection is missing, or out of sight for a while.
We do not progress at the same speed or with the same rhythm all the time. I tried to explain the idea to her and used the metaphor of the “connecting the dots” drawing game. The more dots there are, the harder it is to make some of the connections.
As I tried to finish one myself in preparation of this post, I discovered a missing dot/number, it required me to zoom out and look at the whole picture I had drawn so far. This way I was able to make the correct connection with the next dot. When we stagnate within a certain development or project, seeing the whole picture may help finding missing links towards continuation.
The phrase “connecting the dots” can also be used as a metaphor to illustrate an ability (or inability) to associate one idea with another, to find the “big picture”, or salient feature, in a mass of data. In the case of computer technology, missing a dot can even cause a country to drop off the world wide web, as they encountered in 2009 in Sweden.
“What was essentially a typo last night resulted in the temporary disappearance from the Internet of almost a million Web sites in Sweden — every address with a .se top-level down name. “The .se registry used an incorrectly configured script to update the .se zone, which introduced an error to every single .se domain name,” says Pingdom. “We have spoken to a number of industry insiders and what happened is that when updating the data, the script did not add a terminating ‘.’ to the DNS records in the .se zone. That trailing dot is necessary in the settings for DNS to understand that ‘.se” is the top-level domain. It is a seemingly small detail, but without it, the whole DNS lookup chain broke down.”
I think what distinguishes scientists, artists, and certain entrepreneurs from other people is that their creativity allows them to make unexpected connections between the dots. They can see both tree and forest at the same time, and make sense of it (or as some artists do to make nonsense out of it, like Dadaism). Being able to see and treasure the “dot” in front of you, will show you the path to the next one and/or make the right connection. As far as the human connections are concerned, the Karmic Connection versus Soul Mate is a very interesting one, which is for another post.
My daughter “got the picture” and referred to other related images, like the star constellations and chemical/molecular structures. Our dialog concluded, as I observed that life is not just one “connect the dots” picture, but a whole series. To which she replied: “I wonder mom, how all these images look together, at the end of your life.”