I typed my first blog today on the Writing Porch…and it was much too cold to write the second from the December Chill. So I have been thinking about who is watching you and me. We often feel that we are islands in the sea of humanity and no one is noticing us or caring little about what we do. I read a study the other day that said that we live in our heads more now than we ever have. With IPads and iPhones and laptops and computers, we are preoccupied with our own world that is private before our eyes. Have you noticed that first-run movies spend a sparing amount of time in the theatre? They rapidly are moving to pay-per-view or Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime. When you do make the somewhat dangerous journey to a restaurant for the fellowship of other customers and staff…and of course your friends or family…you may observe tables full of people who are all magnificently obsessed with their smartphones.
Perplexed I was many years ago when a fire alarm would sound in one of the Campus buildings when students seemed to not hear it and paid no attention to it. I would go from classroom to classroom to verbally warn the lethargic academics that a fire alarm was peeling and thus they must exit the building. Often the students would say that someone probably pulled the alarm as a prank and that it was no doubt a false alarm.
Watch what we do as life passes us by on our screens. Suffering and death and war and famine meld with computer games and Hollywood movies. Reality does not phase us if we do not feel it. We pass by the hungry and the cold and think about getting home to eat and warm up from the chill.
Perspective is everything. I have noticed when I am photographing an area that I have taken pictures in before that if I change my perspective I see an entirely new portrait. When I was a supervisor and then a manager/administrator at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale I strove to see colleagues’ points of view from their vantage point. Many times things appeared one way from the Superintendent’s Office and quite another way from my friends working in the University buildings. Rules and requirements seemed common sense as I comprised them from my office…but onerous and silly in the field.
Christmas brings us an opportunity to change our perspective. What is happening on our doorstep…who is suffering in our family…who is hungry and cold and lonely in our community.
Love is the answer…but we must first understand the question…