Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Don't Miss Today

From having to write this weekly blog I am made aware how rarely must we come into contact, in our everyday life, with something that arouses our curiosity. and how sadly lacking some lives (often my own included) are of cerebral stimulation. Easy entertainment and instantly readable and accessible forms of information are so readily available that we are not forced to really search for something that may test us, and when we find it, all too frequently we are not wanting to be tested by it, and when there is constantly something far more easily digestible available, it is easy to understand.

For while it has troubled me that there is more and more at our disposal that effectively limits our necessity to think. At home there are tvs, computers, video games. When we walk there are mp3 players, iphones, now billboards and poster advertisements move for us, taking away even the need to imagine how a product could enrich our lives. Films seem increasingly lifted from the pages of novels, reducing the need to read, you probably could just wait for the adaptation.

I recently made a decision that effects my eating habits. This is not a platform that I wish to use to promote certain ideas, but I decided after a number of years being vegetarian that I found it difficult to justify, to myself most importantly, why I still ate dairy. It was only really through talking about issues surrounding this subject, with someone who had opinions on it that really drew out my opinion. That is not to say that I assimilated that other viewpoint into my own, in fact we made the same decision for quite different reasons, it is just that by having someone to bring into question something that is not ever thought of as a choice, makes one choose, or at least give reasons for that choice. There are so many elements of our life that we would probably stand by if pressed, yet we were never given a choice about. How much of our belief system and ideals are simply something handed down by our parents or from our society or culture? Tradition is not justification and should not equal blind acceptance. We should question why we think, feel or act in certain ways. However, unless something is brought to light, it is very difficult to even notice it as something worth questioning. This is why it is important to mix with people who may challenge you, who may have differing theories, because of personal or cultural differences. You may not always if ever come to the conclusion that you have been misled, but it can feel reassuring if not enlightening.

This obviously can operate on such a level that can develop, extract or even re-form certain beliefs and ethical stand points one may have, but it also translates down to how we may approach daily tasks, even our work. A lot of the best, most affecting art and design asks why, challenges what we believe to be the normal, often so normal and unchallenged that it we barely recognise it when presented with it. I am surprised by my occasional willingness to accept something that is either in place or put in place, with no other explanation or justification than that's just how it is. In terms of designing something for a client a brief may be issued stating various demands and stipulations, but they may not even know why.

One of the main reasons for not adapting one's views on something may be a fear, a fear of acknowledging that you may have been misled, wrong is the incorrect word, with many such complex issues that can arise it is difficult to ordain a right or wrong. It can take a lot to admit that your thoughts may be based on little else than stasis. It is difficult but rewarding to look at why we think certain things, why others think differently, as this can either solidify or expose what may be either conscious or unconscious principles by which we act.

If we all took a little more time to think, then we may actually realise a few things.

Apologies for the lecture, it didn't start like that.
Some lightness:
From the marvellous 1962 Trauffaut film 'Jules Et Jim, a classic of the French Nouvelle Vague, this period of cinema is quite new to me (although it's devices now seem common place), and I am excited to learn more about it.


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