Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Lens caps, viewfinders, Grand Canyons
The essay means something different to me now, and it means something about direct engagement in life. Or not. Is blogging a direct engagement in life? Or is language always a deflection, a thing to hide behind, a way to be clever?
I found my way from Walker Percy to an essay written by a student for his English 101 class, entitled “Cameras, Gun Shops, and the
“I have never looked at anything as intensely as I have through the viewfinder of a camera. It may seem odd that my most intense experiences of reality have come through an artificial lens, but a camera is a close cousin to both a magnifying glass and a microscope. It is not only the ability to see things in more detail that commands our attention. It is something else, something about the art of photography that forces us to examine the world as we don’t normally do. Normally we don’t see things as they are. The familiar is forced into the background of our focus. Objects become ideas.
Walker Percy calls this the problem of symbolic complexes. In his article ‘The Loss of the Creature,’ he describes the loss of such grand monuments as the
In order to take pictures — and by pictures I mean good, interesting pictures — one has to see what one is looking at, just ‘as one picks up a strange object from one’s backyard and gazes directly at it.’”
So which is it, I started wondering? Is blogging a disengagement, a deflection, a problem of symbolic complexes, of linking only with those who support our already formulated expectations, of distance from and commodification of? Or is it a means for seeing differently and more intensely? What is my
However, there's a whole wide world of interesting, smart and witty people in the world who have no idea what a blog is, and are just fine that way.
So, blogging is important to us because we're in it; and, as with many things in life, my sense is that it's only as valuable ultimately in what it affects. I want to keep asking myself this as someone who blogs: what's possible, or new, or better, or improved, in the world because of this writing?
I love the ability to find new voices, or voices anew, and new viewpoints. Just one new voice or point of view a day makes the day a success.
Hanna, I believe that anything becomes possible when you start with yourself. Ghandi said we must be the change we want others to become. In that the change we make adds value, it is one small step in increasing the overall value.
I am in the middle of reading Marcus Buckingham's new book "The One Thing You Need to Know" and he references a study done where an accurate self assessment hindered individuals while exaggerated self assurance enabled individuals.
Hence, if in these posts and sharing of ideas, we gain the self confidence to make a change, take a new step, and act on it, then follow through and deliver; we will have added value.