A 9-table stimulated matrix cluster vignette titled BuildingBlocks by J E D Cline on Saturday, May 3, 2008 4:58:55 AM US/Pacific




grok the whole


sequential analysis


physical action


machine in dance role

conceptual building blocks

Alphabet Blocks in kindergarden

parts of a whole


words as building blocks

block diagrams

bricks and concrete blocks

constructing things of blocks


An important experience I had when in kindergarden involved "alphabet blocks", which were wooden cubes about 1.5" on an edge each, were engraved with a letter of the alphabet on each side of the blocks, and were stackable to form physical structures. Kindergarden is normally schooling before kids learn to read, although I had already taught myself to read via comic books and pestering my parents as to what the words were in the "bubbles" people were saying in the comic strip adventures. But here in kindergarden, the alphabet blocks were not words or pieces of words but were physical objects holding alphabetic symbols, that could be lined up in three dimensions. Most importantly I had teamed up with a interesting girl so as to build a building together out of the alphabet blocks. Doing it with the girl made it somehow exciting to me, far better than sticking the blocks just by myself as I normally did at home. However, our alloted supply of alphabet blocks was used up in the making of a splendid tower we had built together. But now that the blocks were all used up, the fun had changed to an uneasy not knowing what to do. Then I noticed a boy who was far across the room, suddenly started running toward us, and he crashed through our wonderful tower, destroying our beautiful creation, then he went elsewhere. I was first horrified, how could someone do such a terrible thing to someone else. Then I noticed that there were lots of alphabet blocks laying all over the floor, remains of our tower, that were now available to be used for she and I to build anew, once again to have fun together. Blocks were units for building things, things like towers, yet also put together would form words out of the alphabetic letters; a word was like a tower, in that way, made of blocks. In chemistry, various chemical atoms become building blocks, and one's DNA stores construction blueprints for making more if itself and all the stuff for assembling and repairing one's physical body, all built of blocks. Some blocks of atoms can be unified into a cohesive whole, such as two of hydrogen and one of oxygen makes a water molecule, a building block of its own. Igloo dwellings can be made of blocks of snow or ice that are welded together by a fire built inside temporarily. Blocks are usually considered as pieces of something to be, instead of completed items themselves, such as bricks and concrete blocks used in constructing a wall of a house, for example. Each concrete block has become parts of a larger whole. And the house may be built on a specific "city block" defining its lace in the territory of homes. I recall when learning intuitive dance that one of the ways people could spontaneous interact in intuitive dance was to form a "machine, where each person would physically join to the growing cluster of people, each making some repetitive motion like waving an arm, the whole resulting united people each wiggling and waving parts as if some machine that had spontaneously built itself, each person one of its building blocks. Conceptual building blocks became a favorite thing to me in later years, enabling me to crete unified whole concepts that fit well together, yet made out of smaller concepts that were the building blocks from which they were made; my "KESTS to GEO" concept is perhaps my finest such conceptual design. Making such a concept involves trying lots of kinds of sub-concepot building blocks for fit, while working toward a desired ultimate goal, in this case an efficient transportations system between ground and high earth orbit. Block diagrams as used in electronics were drawn rectangles as the building blocks, and lines connected them to show relationships, arrows showing which way the energy flowed among them. Building blocks in general involve small things that easily interlock with other things so as to make a large whole that is different from any of the individual blocks, and can take many kinds of arrangements of the blocks to make many different kind of larger wholes. And yet the same problem happens as in kindergarden, when all the available building blocks are used up in making something fine, from then on building blocks have to be transferred from one place to another or one object to another. This is what happens when one eats a meal, the building blocks that had been used in making the food items, is digested and re-assembled into parts of one's body. Just as the food items had done previously, such as a carrot gathers water and chemicals from the soil and air and using its DNA blueprint, makes a carrot while being powered by the sunshine's energy. Each of those chemicals the carrot assembled so fine into itself, had been the alphabet blocks, chemical molecules, from which it built itself, quite similar to the kindergarden alphabet blocks that had provided fun interaction between myself and the little girl my same-age companion of the moment. . 

Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.