30 January 2013

More Optimism, Altruism...(less drama)

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that
in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” 

― Maya Angelou
This is an invite. It's going to get weird, but bear with me.

I'm a people watcher. Actually, more like an observer. I've tried to look at people sans judgments  but with understanding. Sometimes you run into those who are just plumb stupid, whole-hearted assholes, and otherwise mean-spirited folk. But I would say this is the minority of the kinds of mannerisms for most people you will meet.

“How can you govern a country
which has 246 varieties of cheese?” 

― Charles de Gaulle
As a photographer, being observant is an asset. I feel like I've always been an observer, but now I see people often times through an imaginary viewfinder. I see how they might look with a lens between them and me or how they might appear if I strategically cropped out the rest of the world around them. It's fascinating actually. Ya'll should try to visualize that sometimes. Things can become a bit more easy to see when you shrink the world. And when you can see, you can understand.

One of my life-long goals is to become less angry and fed up with people. I think I can do this by understanding people's affect on my life and put them into true perspective. What this essentially means is letting go of drama. I can't stand drama. Drama should be in the cinema or on stage and never in real life. I've had to deal with my fair share and ever more, even now. But I want to invite you to think about this and contemplate the affect it has in your life. I would wager to say that most drama has very little true impact on a person's life. We tend to empower drama, more so than our drama has its own natural power. Case in point: I've been betrayed or blindsided quite often by people who I imagined were close to me. Hurts every time, I'll admit, but what surprises me most about myself is my ability to get better at recovering from it much more quickly than I have in the past. Part of that is realizing that people's opinion of me don't really matter. They don't affect my income or my ability to care for myself. They don't affect my relationship with God. They don't detour my future potential and they certainly don't dictate my ability to decide what's right for me. That is, unless I empower them to do so.

“All the diversity, all the charm, and all the beauty of life are made up of light and shade.” 
― Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina
Let me entreat you to try a little harder at optimism. I struggle with it. Make no mistake, I'm not speaking to this like I'm some wise old sage, guru, or mountain mystic sitting above 8,000 feet in a small village above the cloud-line. But I think if we can look at things in their proper perspective and give credence only to those things and people that really matter, it would be difficult to NOT be optimistic about ourselves, our future, others we hold dear, and humanity in general.

Another word I will throw at you is Altruism. Random acts of kindness, a good-natured attitude, looking for the best in people and situations, light-hearted, caring for other people and the world we live in; all of that. That's altruism. Not being divided by social, political, gender, racial, and sexual persuasions...that's altruism. Actually desiring to reach a mutual agreement and working tirelessly towards that goal...that's altruism.

“Be sure to enjoy language, experiment with ways of talking, be
exuberant even when you don't feel like it because language can make
your world a better place to live.” 

― Deborah LevyPillow Talk in Europe and Other Places
The Hubble telescope is one of many instruments we use to see deep into the universe. We can see so far into the distant expanse of space that we are actually seeing into the past. As far as well can tell, we here on the planet Earth are the only representation of LIFE that we have been able to find. That girl on the job that you can't stand is still, in essence, a miracle of life. We can procreate life because we are designed to so do. But we can't just create life from scratch. Its impossible. Even the most simplest forms of life are yet impossible for us to create ourselves. Can you create a worm? Do you have it in you to re-engineer a fly? None of the most brilliant minds or the smartest brains to ever grace the human race can do this. Yet we often cheapen life and the value of one another.

I am reminded of the movie, staring the late great Michael Clarke Duncan. You know the movie..."The Green Mile". His character is gifted but fed up with how mean we are to each other:
"Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?" - character, John Coffey in "The Green Mile"
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear.” 
― Gene Roddenberry
So I submit these questions: Why can't we enjoy one another? Why can't we just enjoy life? Why do we needlessly get caught up in things and people that don't really matter? Let a mother feed her baby in public. And if she uses a boob to do it, so the f-what. Quit being so disparaging over a naked body. Clean up the heart and nudity won't matter. It doesn't matter what your faith is, God said to love. He didn't specify exceptions at to sexual orientation. I'm Black, but I'm just like you, just with a longer dick, better natural ability with a ball (you can keep your pucks), and more rhythmic responses to music. I'm Kidding! Cuz we're getting a grip on the puck, too! Nah...All jokes aside. I'm actually just like you, maybe culturally different. But isn't that the brilliant thing about life...Our Diversity!! That's what made life proliferate throughout time. Diversity. Relish our differences. I promise you. If you want to enrich your own life, get to know cultures outside of your own. So appreciate and celebrate me. I will love and cherish you. How about we make THAT deal. More OPTIMISM. More ALTRUISM.

....less drama...

You can do this. WE can do this. Help me treat you better. I wanna start with me. You do the same. And we can just see where it takes us. I found this animation over on Peace, Love, Nudity. I thought it was interesting.


Karl said...

Well said, my friend. Sadly, drama sells. Just watch all the stupid "reality" shows. They want the conflict and drama. It keeps people hooked. Watch the talking heads on Fox and MSNBC. We want to see the spittle fly from their lips as they yell at each other.

It's funny how our culture endorses movies with violence and conflict yet will be repulsed by sexuality in cinema. Sad times. I guess heads exploding make more money than a couple of people getting it on.

Keep on being you and keep bringing back more fantastic photos.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Indeed. Drama sells and I should have added the TV as additional places it belongs as opposed to our lives. I know we can't live without it, but I'm talking about that unnecessary drama that leads to nothing good. Its a good life. I like living and I want to die having explored it to the fullest. I need more people around me what are like that to help inspire, teach, and encourage me as I do them. Wouldn't that be cool!

Karl said...

Sadly, I don't think we can't completely divorce personal drama from that on tv. In many ways, we are what we consume. I eat too many fatty food and hence... I consume too much drama, confrontation, etc. on tv and radio, it will taint my thoughts on what normal interactions are. I think this is especially true with "reality tv" and news shows since they are purported to be "real".

I agree. It would be cool have like minded people around you that support, believe, but also challenge you and call you on items that you can do better. All of it done in loving and collaborative support, not to tear you down.

Photo Anthems.com said...

I can definitely understand that case. My point is this. We are adults. And we are what we consume, however we have no problem keeping horror concepts in the cinema. We don't go out and jump cars just because we watch Fast and Furious. Nor do we run amock through the city because we see the Hulk to it in the Avengers. But I know what I want to do and become. I'm going to maintain the attitude that it begins with me before I hold anyone else to those expectations. So that's why I called this post an invite. Come do it with me.

Anonymous said...

One of, if not your best yet.
I feel what you say here.
Charlie Loeven

Photo Anthems.com said...

Its been too long since I've seen you, Charlie.