Apart from attempting to understand the practical applications of spinning theories, my main goal in my explorations in fibre is to contribute to a clearer language for those of us interested in discussing our passions. I'm not a big fan of dichotomies; I don't tend to believe much in "I am right and you are wrong." (Except when I am convinced that I am right, of course. I am exquisitely human and very capable of spouting off while standing on my favourite soapbox, which usually means that I will get knocked off of it. Sometimes, that means a hard and very public fall.) My biggest pet peeve is that people tend to accept what they are told without investigating things for themselves, which might not mean much in the fibre world, but which can lead to a world of hurt in larger perspectives. (I've witnessed a few epic battles in the fibre world, too.) My second largest pet peeve is with those who undermine (which is not the same as questioning and challenging) other people's work or beliefs or experiences without recognizing how their personal biases, actions and make up might influence their own conclusions. As I noted in the post on twist, it's not always a case of right and wrong.
In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, there are passages which discuss Right Knowledge and Wrong Knowledge. (I'm stating this very simply here. The study of yoga is complex and just as open to debate as spinning, if not more so.) Right Knowledge means that we know things which can be verified through various systems:
1.7 Of these five, there are three ways of gaining correct knowledge (pramana): 1) perception, 2) inference, and 3) testimony or verbal communication from others who have knowledge.
(pratyaksha anumana agamah pramanani)
Wrong Knowledge involves working with false perceptions:
1.8 Incorrect knowledge or illusion (viparyaya) is false knowledge formed by perceiving a thing as being other than what it really is.(viparyayah mithya jnanam atad rupa pratistham)
We come to Knowledge in various ways (Click here for one explanation of these systems.), but the best way to attain Right Knowledge is to practice direct experience, reasoning and then validation from authority. These 3 paths must converge in order to attain Right Knowledge. Wrong Knowledge arises from, among other things, shifting perceptions, relationships with other people and entrenchment in beliefs. If we cling to what we are told or think is true, we are likely on the path of Wrong Knowledge. Testing one's assumptions is a first step in moving back to walking towards Right Knowledge.
Here's a visual example. The first photo shows a section of one of my small tapestries:
Pretty simple and easy to understand, no? It's likely that you see some kind of floral image. Now, suppose that I begin shifting the framework and filtering the original image, like so:
So on I go, searching and searching for Right Knowledge in every space in my Universe. Sometimes, this makes life difficult and I get a practical lesson as to why Colin, another teacher, warns people to be careful in starting down the yoga road at all. On the other hand, the more I apply a yogic system of seeking knowledge in my life, the more I discover that opposing viewpoints are simply matters of perception, not actual conflicts. Working within this perspective means there are fewer schisms among people. You may be right; I may be wrong or vice versa. We may also both be wrong or both right. By accepting these possibilities, maybe we can begin to understand why we do those things we do in the way we do them. If we start small, with our hobbies, vocations and passions, perhaps we can expand such shifts in perspectives and apply them to the larger world. Think of the possibilities.