Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Circumspect -  careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences
~ Merriam-Webster

Our English word "circumspect" comes from the Latin prefix "circum" which means surrounding, on all sides, all around; and the verb "spec" meaning to see. 

I remember years ago in my theater days when directing a play I would direct and watch rehearsals from different places throughout the house in order to get a sense of how the play looked and sounded from all possible perspectives. I would do the same with set and lighting design looking at sight lines, shadows, and hot spots. Sometimes I would go back stage and sit in a dark corner and watch the rhythm and pace of actors and stage crew as they went about their tasks, all unseen by the audience but vital to ultimate presentation. Even though I don't recall using the exact word "circumspection," that's exactly what I was doing.

In our fast paced world of Twitter, Snapchat, news briefs, and thirty second attention spans, we seemed to have lost the practice and art of circumspection. Instead of circling a problem, issue, or opportunity to consider various approaches and responses, it seems the current way is to hit things straight on, or "say it like it is." However, "straight on" eliminates at least 359 degrees of perspective, and "saying it like it is" usually comes down to one or a few people's opinions based on their perspective.

Of critical concern is that circumspection in how we care for our planet seems to be missing among many. For less than a hundred years we have had the ability and opportunity to orbit and see Earth from a distance. Seeing our cosmic home from all around and all sides tells us one startling thing: this is it!  As I recently read, "there is no planet B."

Modern technology provides information and knowledge from myriad perspectives, yet we choose to reduce the intricacy and complexity of life to tweets and chatter, often damaging relationships. On a larger scale, we carelessly destroy our only home. We live in a crucial human and planetary time when circumspection is needed more than ever.

1 comment:

  1. Andy, I am proud of you and proud that I had some minor influence on that mind.