Contraxioms: Toy Story

So, when someone google’s the word “Contraxiom,” google asks if you mean, “Contrazoom, Contractions, or Contraxis.” No, that is not what was meant! Why is this? Well, I would assume that this is because this word has been coined more recently. It has been developed by the writers of the book, The Geek Leader’s Handbook, Paul Glen and Maria McManus. What do they (Glen and McManus) mean when they use the word, “Contraxiom.” Well, to them, on page thirteen in their book, Contraxiom is, “A matched pair of contrasting axioms that give rise to vastly different worldviews.” In layman’s, we all see the physical universe around us, but understand and interpret it in completely different ways. This brings rise to what the authors call, “The Seven Contraxioms of Geeks and Non-Geeks.” These consist of: having different ideas of what work is; relating to the future in vastly different ways; coming to know what we know very differently; what we think the purpose of language is; disagreement about the definition and significance of lying; degrees of absolution in which we perceive good and evil; and differently valuing desire and it’s role in decision-making. Pretty straight forward, huh?

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Well, what comes to mind, for myself, is that of a ‘character contraxiom.’ I think about the Disney movie franchise, Toy Story, and the two main characters, Buzz and Woody (If you have watched the Toy Story movies, you will see many character contraxioms between that of the characters). Buzz is an astronaut (Space Ranger) toy who is very technical, straight forward, clueless to reality, takes everything serious and literal. Woody, on the other hand, is cowboy who is loosey-goosey, blunt, traditional, and not open to change. This is a classic example of two characters who have vastly different personalities, who dislike each other, but yet become best friends and work with each other to help “save the day,” quote on quote. Here is a snip bit, from the first movie, in which I think shows the contraxiom in Woody and Buzz’s relationship.

Now, to bring this to a more personal sense, of these contraxioms, the one that I relate to the most is the ‘desire’ contraxiom. I say that I relate to the desire contraxiom, the most, because there has been many of times when I have done just as the geek does, within this contraxiom. I seem to always justify my want for something with reasons why I need it, how it is beneficial, how it will improve my workflow, and the personal satisfaction I will get from obtaining said item or activity. I make a list that justifies my reasoning and get aggravated when I do my best to share that list with a person who does not care for justification; they just care that I want it. To them, the why is not of importance, just the want.

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An example of this was a time when I wanted to get an iPad. I justified my want for it by pointing out that it would improve my productivity as a designer. If I had an iPad, I could run the adobe mobile applications. Applications such as illustrator draw, illustrator line, photoshop mix, and photoshop sketch. These applications would cut the need for paper and the time it takes to draw up a sketch, take a picture of it, and then retrace it in illustrator or photoshop. I would be able to illustrate and sketch directly into illustrator draw and then import it into illustrator to make minor adjustments, if necessary. I would make a point that it would help me stay more organized by keeping all of my drawings and works in one, easily accessible, place. I would also argue that having an iPad would allow me to illustrate and work on the go. My final argument is that it would not just be a devise for me to create and improve my workflow as a designer, but also allow me to consume content via Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, for inspiration. I it would be an all in one type of device that would allow me to do many things more comfortably (I have other reasons, but I am sure that you are not interested in all of the details).

From reading my article, I hope that you are able to walk away with an understanding as to what contraxioms are and what kind of role they play in our everyday lives. I encourage you to identify contraxioms and to work through them in a way that is beneficial to both parties.

Thank you for reading and for tuning in.

Until next time,

Noah Henry


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