How Is Your Well Curve?

Recently, I was listening to Len Sweet talk about addressing the NRB and talking about “futuring.” He shared that he talked about five substantial areas. The one that caught my attention was “The Well Curve not the Bell Curve.”

You remember getting grades in school based on the “Bell Curve.” A few got an “,” a few got and “,” but most grades were in the center. This idea was based on normal statistical distribution. About a 150 years ago those working with math noticed that when different things were measured in a large sample, the results was clustered around an average. Plotted on a chart, it looked like a bell. The “Bell Curve” became normal in statistical distribution. It became a fundamental law of natural science, a foundation of statistics.

However, in the culture shift that is in process the “Bell Curve” has completely changed and is being replaced by a concept called the “Well Curve,” which suggests that the things at the edges, which were small in the “Bell Curve” are now large, while what was large in the “Bell Curve” is not smaller. Opposites are happing at the same time, but are not contradictory as may have been perceived in the “Bell Curve.”

As one example, in the consumer culture screens are getting smaller and larger at the same time, i.e., cell phones, PDAs, wrist PDAs / large screen TVs. It seems that the mid-sized is going out of style.

This reminded me of part of a course that I teach from time to time in which I deal with worldview and a concept I call: Thinking Like A Hebrew. The Hebrews of the Old and New Testament seems to have had the knack of taking things that were opposite and holding them together in tension. What was opposite was held in tension without trying to solve the tension.

Our Western worldview, however, wants to solve the tension. It is driven to get an answer, to come down on one side or another. In theology this can be seen in the arguments between the sovereignty of God and the free will of humankind. John Calvin came down on one side and Jacobus Arminius came down on the other. The debate still rages in some circles to this day. It is strange to say but both Calvin and Arminius were wrong when standing alone in their beliefs but in a Hebraic way of thinking, their seemingly opposites are correct when held together in the tension they produce.

In a world traveling at the speed of sound, where signs of change are all around us we need to hold the opposites in tension and build bridges from the sides to the middle, other wise we will have a bridge to nowhere, and that would just be useless.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beth Wacome Keck March 7, 2007 at 9:36 am

Hey there Winn-some …
I was thinking about you – and about another favorite saint – and a quote of his that I think applies to you:
“Life should be fragrant – Rooftop to the basement” …
Here’s to living well – Curves notwithstanding ….

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