“Of all the things created and built by humankind, nothing in my mind is better or worthier than bridges.
They belong to all and treat all alike; they are useful, always built for purpose, at a spot where most human needs entwine.”
Well. When I saw this quote I thought “wow, I have the companion piece to my Liminal space post”.
Liminal spaces tend to make people feel uncomfortable as places of transition <neither here nor there>. They are kind of the fascinating, interesting, but oft wretched, spots where you have left what was but have not entered into what will be. It is the intangible that create the niggling discomfort or unease <or anticipation>. You are kind of disconnected from any of your real comfort zones.
Bridges make people feel comfortable. They are tangible. They show the clear path from where you are to where you can go. With a bridge you know you can always be connected with a comfort zone <even if you never go back>.
These two things are companions in crime.
Liminal spaces, voids as it were, tend to serve to refocus and remind people of what is at stake and what is really important.
Bridges offer a place to focus. They offer us … well … some pragmatic hope that you can actually get somewhere <even if where you are is kind of unclear>.
Connecting spaces, which is really what bridges are, are invaluable to us physically and mentally.
Almost everyone’s minds excitedly explore uncertain forays into interesting things and, at exactly the same time, get lost as they get snagged on the edge of unexplored thoughts or even those mischievously evil second guesses that are inevitably associated with the uncertainty in much of our lives, thoughts and growth.
And this can make us feel uncomfortable and our mind wrestles with this discomfort as well as dealing with the uncertainty of, well, this liminal space.
Here is some truth.
Ignorance is boundless.
Knowledge is limited <only in terms of time>.
Learning, and unlearning, often contains more uncertainty than it does certainty.
This means our minds are always grappling with the hollow spaces of our lives, i.e., the empty spaces in which we know we have to cross, but just aren’t sure we can see how to cross.
That, in a nutshell, is why we love bridges.
Look. I am a strategy guy or maybe I could be called a “here to there” thinker guy. I like liminal spaces AND I like bridges. While I like navigating liminal spaces I don’t like going back again and again to the same, therefore, I also like to build a bridge in ever liminal space I visit in business.
Not all strategy type people do that.
Some like (just) the theory – the larger ‘trend.’ They are called futurists. I tend to call them relatively worthless <or maybe just misguided in their self title>.
Some like navigating the liminal space, seeing the web of the trend itself and doing the mental gymnastics to weave your way through, leaving some bread crumbs for others to follow.
Some like the practical step-by-step plan of getting from one place to another <the places are less relevant the bridge is all that matters>. I would argue they weren’t traditional strategists but rather strategy implementers, but, call them what you may they play an incredibly important role in getting people from here to there and what is to what could be.
Me? I am a pragmatic strategy person.
Identifying “what could be” is all about navigating liminal spaces and deciding which door to open and walk through … what path to choose and what rivers to cross. It gets the heart pumping, is not for the faint of heart, and is fraught with peril.
I say that because building a bridge seems to help not only tangibly show the ‘rightness’ in deciding the ‘right what could be’ but it also gives people a path. A path in which they have less uncertainty and can focus on … well … getting from here to there.
To me not building a bridge just seems like leaving something incomplete. Like maybe offering someone a map while I could have shared a map AND built a road.
Let me say I don’t think the world needs more of me <god no>, but I do believe we need to appreciate the pragmatic bridge builders in our midst.
Bridges are not typically built willy nilly in some random place. More often they are placed in useful places constructed with connection of those in one place and those in another.
What was and what will be <as it were>.
I am a business guy. But, I admit, I stop and admire well-built bridges all the time. I admire the bridges with character and wear & tear as trains rumble across them.
I do so because they remind me that a well-built bridge may be one of the worthiest things in the world.
While I wish more business thinkers, and strategy people, would think about this kind of shit more often I will lower my wishes and just say everyone should stop and admire a bridge on occasion.
They may be one of the worthiest, least appreciated, things we encounter.
Plus. In a world that seem increasingly uncertain where the intangibles & unknowns seem to outnumber the tangible & certain, well, bridges can be quite tangible, quite certain … and quite comforting. Great reminders that we humans have always been quite good at figuring out how to connect here to there.