Journey into the Recesses of the Human Mind
Things Are Seldom What They Seem, Skim Milk Masquerades As Cream
As a child, Einstein was always fascinated by what it would be like to ride on a beam a light, at the speed of light. What would he see? Would clocks still be ticking? It often seems that we have one notion of how the world works, but then things happen that make us ask, “what in the world is going on”? When I was a young swimmer, by which I mean a really youthful 6 year old, I would get violently angry if a swim coach criticized by stroke. “Why don’t they like me”, I would ask. “Why do they have to pick on me like that”? Of course, my form improved only very slowly because my mind was not yet open to the rather obvious fact that my coaches were trying to help me to be successful, go faster, and win more often. But it never felt that way to me. They were just picking on me and I resented it.
As I gained a few years of wisdom, the simplistic ideas began to melt away. It became more clear to me that there were a lot of people who cared about me and wanted to help me. Even so, it has always been hard to accept criticism, even when the feedback is meant to be supportive. My mind just did not work that way.
As I became a student of science and math, I began to realize that there are a lot truths in the universe that just do not seem to be right. How can water disappear on a hot day into the air? Can light really bend? Surely a ten pound ball would fall faster than a one pound ball. I often couldn’t accept a poor mark on a graded assignment, until I realized that I actually had not done the work correctly. My mind just was not open to seeing another point of view, especially from a strict middle school teacher so I would argue relentlessly and with a great sense of victimization. I always completely sure I was right, until the truth became irrefutable. As Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
The Photo Safari is a fast-forward adventure in seeing things from a different point of view, fast and furious. I chose to do my photo safari primarily in the office, but also in the surrounding areas at my home in Charlottesville. The office is a room with dimensions about 15X20 feet. It has 4 computers, 5 desks, 10 windows, and lots and lots of books. It is relatively organized for an office, but has an assortment of sundries with no particular order. I chose to do my photo safari here because there is no shortage of interesting items and a mixture of advanced high tech gadgets such as ipads, iphones and computers mixed with old-fashion watches and slides rules. I thought this atmosphere would provide a lot of interesting photographs. The experience was interesting because it was not an assignment in which there was any preparation. The first photograph that matched each category was used. It made it very interesting to see what my mind went to first to fulfill each photo category. This was a rather artistic activity and really exercised my right brain. The photos that worked best for me were the simple ones. When I tried to put too much into a photo I usually strayed from the path. For example, the foot and shoe one was my favorite. It was straight-forward prompt that allowed for an interesting picture. I think the most inventive photo was the picture that represents a metaphor for complexity. Originally I had no idea what I would use for this. However, as soon as I opened the closet door I realized the wires, which seemed to be randomly flowing are actually placed in a complex order that makes them all work together. I think this was inventive because it requires you to stretch your imagination. Light is the eye’s window on the universe, but shadows can obscure and yet illuminate an idea. A world that is all green is not really the entire world. Yes, there are actually red things too. Can future devices let us talk to people all over the world at any time? What about other planets? An image unusual angle can open the mind to a whole range of ideas. Do you remember the “earth-rise” photo that was taken by Apollo astronauts from the other side of the moon? The world really is a small blue dot floating in space. What does that say about us as humans? A backlit object, a weird foot over angled shoes exhibit, a gaggle of wires that actually all are intricately connected correctly and run my home computer network all give us pause to think about the world afresh.
I also love the monkey on the stapler. For the monkey, it seems to make perfect sense. For me, there could be a message in there somewhere. I just need another 15 minutes of reflection to figure it out.