Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is This All?

Betty Friedan asked what may be the most timeless social question in history: "Is this all?"

In 1957, Betty coined  a phrase that changed America: "the problem that has no name."

She had surveyed Smith College classmates about satisfaction 15 years later at a reunion. Instantly, almost every woman in America identified with "the problem that has no name."

It had one key symptom: a feeling of being trapped. 

* * * 

Betty appeared in Time with my kid’s maternal grandma for changing the course of human history, becoming lifelong friends.  

I often looked for common traits Betty had, beyond writing, with my kid’s grandma. They were both in another zone, able to see past what’s in front, with great confidence, to create new freedoms. 

They spent time looking at what defines a social trap and how one frees oneself from the question of "Is this all?” 

It’s a powerful question you can transpose beyond the house. There are invisible traps everywhere blocking one’s full capabilities. 

It's a regular occurrence that we subscribe to traps to accommodate what is deemed needed for work, life, creative output or relationships. 

The future can always be seen by asking: Is this all? It's a question that asks for a bigger answer than what's in front.  What is taboo one decade is often no longer taboo next decade. What is unaccepted today becomes the future. 

There is always more to see, you just have to look for it. The basis of creativity is to see more. I think that's why Betty Friedan once used creativity (as opposed to politics) as the key metaphor for freeing oneself from trapped thinking. There are no inclinations in creativity.

Betty was born today in 1921. She passed away on her birthday February 4, 2006.