The late Harvard professor Alan Watts, in a lecture on Eastern philosophy, used the following analogy to introduce the subject of context:
“ If I draw a circle, most people, when asked what I have drawn, will say I have drawn a circle or a disc, or a ball. Very few people will say I’ve drawn a hole in the wall, because most people think of the inside first, rather than thinking of the outside. But actually these two sides go together—you cannot have what is ‘in here’ unless you have what is ‘out there. ‘ ”
A similar reaction occurs when we hear the word “search. ” We tend to think inside the box. We forget that the search “in here” is made possible by the structure “out there. ” Every little search box you find yourself typing in, is like the hole in the wall. It’s always helpful if you consider the context of your search.