Ah, self portraits…ever since ancient times, the human ego thingy hasn’t gone one step further from drawing one another one a cave wall and calling it art.
What’s my big issue with “selfies”? (other than being a never ending pool of self-feeding egomaniacal abyss).
A self portrait rarely reflects anything about the artist. Whereas a portrait, by definition, should reveal something (whether true or a role played behind a mask) about a certain someone.
Self portraits LIE! And they do so brazenly and in a cheeky manner. I have yet to see a self portrait where the vision reflects either true enunciation of one’s personality or a true form of artistic foul play or theatrics. We cannot lie enough to ourselves and we cannot lie good enough for others to be deceived.
While the risks involving a true exposure of oneself are, do doubt, to be taken into consideration (given the amount of information warfare going on), in my personal opinion, I believe a self portrait should be done as sincerely as possible or as artistically as possible.
I mean, you won’t send grandma a photo of you acting all mysterious for the sake of facebook’s likes, aye?
Nor will you post on such social networks a photo of you taking a bath, as a baby…or would you?
As the curtain between privacy and publicizing our every living moment gets blurred by the year, I feel…torn.
On one hand, I believe in the intimacy of certain moments and the necessity for those moments to be shared with special people and be kept and treasured deep inside one’s mind.
On the other hand, the utopian inside of me would aspire to a universal bonding, a “big family” (oh, the hippies are all gettin’ giddy). Yet we cannot do so if we keep presenting false imagery and shallow, see-through masks. It only gives people more trust issues (and fills psychiatrist’s pockets, mind you).
Now, the rant above begs the question: is this a true self portrait? Is it sincere? Is it a well-cast mask? I guess that is for you to decide.
“He cannot say he understood all of this. Possibly he’s more confused now than ever. But all these moments he’s contemplated — something has occurred. The moments feel substantial in his mind, like stones. Kneeling, reaching down toward the closest one, running his hand across it, he finds it smooth, and slightly cold. He tests the stone’s weight; he finds he can lift it, and the others too. He can fit them together to create a foundation, and embankment, a castle. To build a castle of appropriate size, he will need a great many stones. But what he’s got, now, feels like an acceptable start.”
Causality – the law that governs over ethics and instates what we call moral principles, for it is not in the power of one’s actions but in their effects that we place our trust (or the lack of thereof) and judgment, gratifying or dismissing said person.It’s quite simple: You threw a stone in the pond, prepare to welcome the ripples.
But what if you meant for the stone to be thrown further away? Or with more momentum? Or what if you prefer not to have thrown the stone at all? It has been said so many times that pondering over your actions and their effects, taking in account that every little thing you do or say might have rather unpleasant results in the future, is a virtue and one who may tread through life as a guilt-free person is either unscrupulous or a very kind man.
But, can kindness or honesty or even the morality of a person be measured by how carefully (or not) they ponder upon the results of their desires and their expression? What would happen if causality were taken away and we could bend time to our own liking?
“What if our world worked differently? Suppose we could tell her: ‘I didn’t mean what I just said,’ and she would say: ‘It’s okay, I understand,’ and she would not turn away, and life would really proceed as though we had never said that thing? We could remove the damage but still be wiser for the experience.”
Of course, one might play upon such a power so that the consequences would be evaded easily and the only thing that could stop them from being evil is…being good? In an ideal model, people would use such a gift to prevent hurting each other and restore a state of universal peace. But that is why we call such a thing an Utopia.
Going back to my initial premise, it is causality that instates most of the human moral principles: you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not lie…and the list goes on; for you see, what people fear most is betrayal and falsity, although they practice it unknowingly day after day and only condemn it when the effects turn out to be catastrophic. In order to use it to the greater good, one would require two things: a nearly-perfect understanding of how their actions would influence the future and a certain amount of love, caring enough for that event, or that person and this without any hind purposes; for the greater good and that alone. To ensure things unfold properly and in favor of the other, you must know that person to a degree where you can be sure you can fulfill his or her desire in a satisfactory way and, at the same time, ensure your initial purpose remains unchanged.
What happens is we are constrained by our causality-driven lives, the unpardonable look in another’s eye when a mistake has been committed, and, as many spiritual teachings tried to convince us from ancient times, so quick to judge, point at, frown and alter our states and presence in the face of what we consider betrayal.
Isaac Newton once said that “…a discovery is not good or bad. Good or bad is the way people use this discovery”; in consequence, we can extrapolate and use this when referring to how others perceive the ripples, the echoes of our doings: to some it may matter to a little extent while to others it may bring about the end of a world. So, adding to the complexity of the equation, here is relativity. People cannot be divided into two separate camps, good and bad let alone expect them to simply stay in of them; we change with time, with interactions, with hopes, dreams and yearnings, and only an ignorant would draw the world in such a radical matter of the two shades and them only, when the Universe around us is actually formed of so many shades of gray which multiply by the various ways each and every one of us perceive them.
Open your mind, and you will find, you’re just as evil…as evil as I !
Perhaps it may seem pessimistic if I am to assume people are, by default, evil. But I can assure you, if you were to take causality away, most people would turn out bad rather than good because it lies within our nature.
Looking around at all we touch, we, as a race, as an entire global population, we could easily compare ourselves to viruses: infiltrate, consume, reproduce and move on. Our very home is dying, yet we keep living our life cycles without a single care to what may happen afterwards, our fellow beings are suffering, yet we move on and bug ourselves with “important matters” as a stage name for our ignorance. What I am trying to say is, even though we are injected with doctrines built upon empirical proof and countless experiments the ages have taught us, we tend to become axiomatic and take these for granted as “laws” or “don’t-s” and never ask ourselves why is an act punishable or forbidden. If the only thing that keeps you from killing another human is religion/the fear of prison(or any kind of legal punishment)/”mommy said it’s wrong”, then I have very bad news for you…
What we must do, is choose. And once you go beyond the fear of choice and the chain of responsibility that derives from there, you will realize it’s much easier to go the extra mile and do good, rather than being an ignorant and let things slip by. This path won’t necessarily bring you all the happiness in the world and, according to your religious beliefs may, or may not grant you entrance to some superior state of mind/spirit, but it will surely make you feel better as a human.
So, how can we speak of kindness and forgiveness?
Here was the entire point of this small article, that we must understand that we cannot guide ourselves by causality and LIVE, live as human beings with a conscience, as spiritual beings with the power to discern what should and shouldn’t be done.Now, being imperfect and relative as we are, one shouldn’t imagine this as an absolute concept and force their will upon everything else (another common mistake we learn from our parents: “because I said so!”). Imagine the possibilities of a disrupted time line and the next time you want to tell someone something, take another second and analyze the ramifications of your every word, your tone, your intentions and their way of being interpreted by the other…with time, you’ll become more and more skilled at this and the people around you will start feeling happier and content to have you in their lives.
Likewise, should you have wronged someone (much as I have, when I felt inspired to write this down), take a little time and go beyond the “whose fault is it” and realize it doesn’t matter and that life is too short for such trivial things. Imagine all the possible things you might want to say, in all kind of forms and only choose those whose actions you’d want to undo less should they happen.
So, I’m taking my stones and I will start building more bridges and less walls, alongside a more carefully planned out register of values that are not only “just because” but explained, detailed and analyzed so that I would never have to stop and ask myself if I’m a good or bad person.