We’re all just watching television

“Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television – you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”

— Andy Warhol, 1968

Looking back: boy & girl louies

Looking back on pictures of summers past, it’s easy to romanticize a one-time trip as an every year occurrence during a period of our time: childhood, adolescence…

boy & girl louies

But then again, don’t we go back into our pasts every-time we reflect on our memories? I read in a Psychology Today article that there are two kinds of selves: the ‘experiencing’ self and the ‘remembering’ self. The experiencing self is the part of our conscious awareness that is here in the moment while the remembering self is the part of our consciousness that creates a record of what we did. The main difference between the two is that when we remember an event in our lives, we then experience it as it happened when we lived through it, as it was recorded by our remembering self. As a Psych major, it’s nothing new to view memory as something immediate; we’re all an aggregate of our pasts, presents and futures – a part of us always as who we were, as we are, and as we are to become. I like to look at history that way, as a path or passage and not merely a passenger upon it.

As I look at these photos again of great times with cousins on Mayne Island I can’t help but feel like this always happened. I’m sure this feeling will only get reinforced in the years to come, but that’s what makes the philosophy of life – that it is ultimately about our memories made – so attractive.

Maybe it’s that dichotomous relationship with our realities that can so torment us; we always have a half in the past and a half in the present. One that is here and one that has stepped behind, hoping to disappear into our memories of summers past. But the same torment that can come from days gone by can also breed within us the great fire of hope that tomorrow will bring reprieve. That tomorrow will be different. That tomorrow will be the same.

Looking at the Age of Scrap

Static. Static. Beeeeeeeeeeeep. I interrupt your normal programming for this rant brought to you by the letter Q and viewers like you.

After doing some thinking on my own after my Family trip (which was refreshing as hell) I’ve regrettably reacquainted myself with the Internet. Not the actual systems thing, but the culture of limitless information and useless junk thing. Ran gets it right when he says we’re now entering the Age of Scrap. Of course he’s talking about the fall of industrial complexity and technological revolution, but we’re also living in postmodern times where a lot of “it” – stories, achievements, movies, plays, novels, songs, pictures, food – have already been done and now we’re looking at new ways of doing the old, making cars and boats out of pop cans and murals out of shopping bags. You know what I mean. That Green movement. But sadly, ending our destructive reign on the planet is not so easy as tweaking our actions, it’s also going to take a serious overhaul of our cultural understanding (or lack thereof) with which we make our choices; our values determine our actions.

And values we are lacking. Facebook and Twitter flutter with gossip, FML, and hash tags for look-at-me-I’m-so-important. Social media (noise) is a multi-million, multi-billion dolllar industry. Big business dollars litter cyberspace, floating their ads in every direction and suddenly gravity is a great, grounding gift. And so us peasants escape into the celebrity machine, feeding on the latest details of someone’s life and leaving a trail of our own baits and lures to capture everyone’s attention.

But no I will not look at you. Thankfully there are ignore friend requests in Facebook and ways I can gladly “deny” your existence in my online social media accounts. So I can go soak up the sun in the park and explore the mountains in my backyard.

But seriously, I’m disgusted with this internet narcissism. It perpetuates a careless culture that would rather make remixed YouTube videos of some person’s oh-so unfortunately-timed moment of weakness than make a pass for real socialization in our day and age. The way we interact on a daily basis has become so sterile and convenient and repetitive and pointless and automatic that we consider logging into a website ten times a day (twenty if you’re at work) and browsing people’s statuses as “keeping in touch.” But that’s a lie; the truth is we’re out of touch.

I read somewhere that watching the new 3D televisions atrophies depth perception. That’s Mother Nature’s irony at its best: that our love and fascination with our enhancement of reality – that is, our technological obsession with making the virtual even more “real” (which is just a substitute word for “enjoyable,” “painless,” and “easy”) – leads us to lose the very ability to appreciate the everyday and ordinary, which is no less magical than meteor showers, city walks filled with the fragances of world cultures, meadows of blooming flowers, and babies being born…OK I’m getting a little carried away but you get the message: there is a curtain to our reality that when we peer behind it, we enter the world again for the first time and see new things. So, excuse me while I make observations about the trash in our cybersphere. I’m thinking of what I can make with it.

in the mood for a new perspective

It seems that everybody wants an invention: a flying car, a jetpack, a virtual reality. What happened to creation? Or is this an extension of creation? I’m not satisfied.

If flying cars really existed they would not give us the freedom to go wherever we please but limit it. Traffic on the ground is already difficult to manage going horizontally and given a vertical axis would require more regulation than less. Instead of sharing 6 lanes across, you’d share scores of cars all around you.

If jetpacks existed (no doubt that would be really cool) being smaller than cars would probably be just as limited. A jetpack would require very delicate controls to avoid hitting something. Plus, it gets really cold up in the atmosphere.

I guess my contention is not with technology, but with imagination — that we imagine the future based as an extension of technology, and evolution as something always beneficial.

I crave real imagination. I want to hear the ideas of people that think we will walk on clouds or grow tails. I want to listen to wild fantasies of magic potions and hatter’s gone mad.

I want to spend the day in Kindergarten. That’s living in the future.