Tuesday, November 15, 2016

clear vision

Photographed near Venice

Some of the photos that I love the most are the ones distorted by light or atmosphere. They can capture the ephemeral  moments of abstraction that we generally try to avoid in going about our everyday business because they are ambiguous and challenging.

Perception is dependent on mood, circumstance, need, and attention. It is more selective than most people imagine as we are brought up to believe in a solid world of absolute structure- but most of this is an illusion. There is always way too much going on for our receptors to cope, so we unknowingly adapt our perception to block out most of the stimuli that compete for our attention.

You probably weren't aware, just now, of the pressure of your backside on the chair....but now you are, because your attention has been drawn to it. Nothing has changed, it just feels different.

I was never any good at physics- much too busy in the art room- but I just love science and it really worries me that people who want to tell us that life is a collection of simple problems with easy solutions are threatening to undo centuries of civil trust in scientific methods and institutions, and that it will be at the expense of us all.  


  1. There is much about our education in what we call the Western tradition that hasn't changed in centuries. The most tragic is how we winnow out creative thinking, in favor of rote learning. As adults, we speak of "thinking outside the box" as though it is the provenance of a privileged genetically endowed few. Critical thinking is frowned upon.
    We have allowed a system of hierarchy to convince us that those in a position of authority know what is best for us, and we should depend on our civic leaders to interpret our world view. It's surprising that many are so self-focused that the natural world around them becomes something viewed, as though it were a TV show. How many people do you know who couldn't tell you the points of the compass, or which direction the wind is coming from? I remember a conversation with a young couple who didn't know what the solstice was, or what caused the turn of the seasons. They were accomplished adults, with good jobs, so they must have spent a good bit of their lives focused on something.
    We do depend on science, to the ends that benefit us, but to the neglect of the rest of the natural world. This could (or should I say will) lead to our own extinction.
    The current election in the US has brought our shortsightedness into focus. How obviously self-serving do our leaders need to be, before we call foul? It's possible that we would be better served by no leaders at all, than the current crop. But only if we learn to broaden our world view to include every living element of the rock we live on. Our anthropocentric view must change, and quickly, if the world as we know it is to continue for future generations. Sad to say, I don't see that happening anytime soon, if ever.

  2. Yes, this year mere urgency doesn't seem adequate on so many levels. US events were a subtext of my little post...it isn't my country and I don't want to be rude, but when our pace of change away from fossil fuels was too slow at best, then the last thing we want to hear is that a new leader of the world's biggest economy wants to sidestep the whole issue, and it does become everyone's business.
    My post became slightly obscure and truncated simply because there are so many things on the boil at the moment so I trimmed my sails.

    1. There comes a time when otherwise civil people are honor bound to speak in plain terms. There is nothing we do here in the US that doesn't impact the whole planet, such is the range of our gluttony. If all that comes from our borders is self righteous hatred (and the explicit exportation of the same), perhaps it will be voices from the outside that censure us.