I Can Learn Through Visualization and Deep Thinking

Jacob Kirsten
July 25, 2015

Learning can be a very tough part of life. Some people learn through writing, while others learn through reading. Growing up, I've always learned through writing. Whether it is in mathematics or English classes, I couldn't memorize a thing if I just saw something. I had to write it down multiple times. Nick Sousanis' Unflattening reached out to me in a significant way, a way I hadn't understood before; I can learn through visualization and deep thinking.

Without looking at the art for more than a few seconds, as I was reading Unflattening for the first time, I kept re-reading each page trying to understand what it meant. It wasn't until the third chapter that I realized I was missing out on an incredible learning experience. Therefore, I re-started the book. As I sat there looking at the images Nick Sousanis beautifully created, I started to understand and visualize myself inside some of the art.

As I started visualizing myself inside some of the art, I thought about how I could apply a different way of thinking to my personal life. On page 92—which is arguably my favorite visual representation in the entire book—Lockerman can step through any door ending up anywhere and time. To me, it represents not just imagination, but opportunities in life. As I go through a door, an endless amount of possibilities await me on the other side.

On page 111, Dr. Sousanis discusses habit through tying our shoes and how habit can posses us. I can relate to this because I've always struggled in school. Habits I've developed throughout my life possed the way I approach school like an addiction. That being said, on page 134, Dr. Sousanis was saying that I simply can't cut myself free from the rut I'm in, as it would set me adrift. This section was incredibly interesting to me as he was talking about not completely cutting all strings and free falling through life without control. Instead use these strings, or weaknesses to our advantage.

The beginning of the book where Dr. Sousanis references 3-Dimensional thinking was the most powerful part of the book for me. I wouldn't have considered myself extremely open minded, but that changed after reading the book. Approaching topics with a more open mind allowed me a richer understanding of many topics, including my own religion. I also received a richer understanding of other religions also. I found similarities between multiple religions and will continue to expand my mind to try and understand other people's perspectives.

Unflattening does almost everything perfectly, from the visualization of flatland to opening our eyes and seeing the world for the first time. It is the first book of its kind to showcase new ways of thinking and how we approach life. I look forward to more of Dr. Sousanis' work in the years to come and hope he remains on the path with the powerful visulization he put on display.

Cover of the first issue of Lockerman, a comic drawn by Nick Sousanis when he was in high school. © Nick Sousanis and used with permission.