Little Boxes – Was Pete Seeger right?

In the spring, before the team arrived, I was helping out Denbigh and Bernard at the beginning of the TCA project and was asked to look at definitions; “Of what?” I asked.  I was given a few key terms which I was asked to research and define and left to get on with what I thought was a very straightforward job.

The very next day on the train passing through the outskirts of Plymouth, I looked out of the window and a song started to slip into my consciousness.  It described exactly the view from the train window:

Little Boxes on the hillside,

Little Boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same

There’s a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same…..

I started to think on the impossibility of creating definitions for the project that everyone will agree on, embrace and be one source of the truth for the project’s values and beliefs.

As a species the human being appears to want order, normality and sense of conformity, but the very essence of humankind is that we are all individuals, all very different but yet crave to be collectively similar. (Physically we are, culturally we are very different.)

This week a cabinet minister described disabled people as not normal.

But what is normal, or in the box marked normal? Why is normal a definition we appear to want to espouse? Is this because we are innately driven towards being part of a collective, a community? Or are we really sheep? Were the sentiments in Pete Seeger's song about right?

Is this any different to our attempts to define terms that we use in the project? This, in my opinion, is about our collective understanding of the work, outcomes and the future direction for our communities that the TCA project can give and the opportunities it hopefully will create.

Have a look at the next definitions post in the forum and see what you think? Challenge, agree, suggest changes or drop me a line.


 Pete Seeger – Little Boxes

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