Now that I have a shiny new website and a book or two under my belt, I feel compelled to write a blog post just like the good old days. My big AHA! moment about this blog came when I was ass deep in the book, which was that here is where much of the book content was born. Stuff I thought about. Stuff that I think is funny. As I'm starting to think about a non-artist version of the book, this will be the place where I start ruminating again.
Since I've pretty much ignored this site thanks to the advent of Facebook, my readership that was once in the tens of tens has dwindled down to the low zeros. This may be like one of those old Twilight Zone episodes; the guy on the Hamm radio calling out to no one, "Hello? Anyone? No one? Okay then, let me tell you about what I really think."
Facebook is sort of a necessary evil, not that I see them as evil, they are susceptible to the same hubris and poor judgement as any corporate mega-monster. It's the people who are on it... they are annoying AF. So much vitriol, so many opinions, much of them based on erroneous or propagandized info. What the...? How? Where is the logic, the philosophical considerations?
Which has lead me to ponder this question, why do so many people see the same thing so vehemently different?
I used a line in the book that I borrowed from a bumper sticker, "Don't believe everything you think", which pretty much sums it up. I know i'm not the first person to consider this problem, I think Plato gave it a whack back when I was in high school with the allegory of the cave. Which basically says that perceptions are not necessarily reality.
I have my variation on this which I call the driver allegory. It's based on a comedic bit by George Carlin from , again, high school era. It goes like this: When you are driving along, the guy in front of you who is driving too slow and impeding your flow is a moron and the one behind you who is riding so close on your tail that he can read your thoughts is an asshole. And we are all sort of like that. You know it's true.
But, here's the thing, that mentality applies to everything, not just cars. It applies to religions, to politics, football teams, which form of art is most relevant, class structure, skin color. Imagine two guys sitting next to one another at a bar; one is a Catholic, Steelers loving, republican realist painter and the other is a Baptist, Philadelphia fanatic, abstract paintin' democrat. Two completely different assumption bubbles sitting right next to one another with alcohol as the incendiary device. How many minutes before the fists start to fly? Basically, the assumption bubble works like this, if you are not in my assumption bubble, you are either an asshole or a moron.
The assumption bubble is the thing that we filter all incoming stimuli through and everyone has a different filtration system. A system that has been embedded and refined since post-birth. It takes a whole lot of open-mindedness and philosophical consideration to overcome a limiting frame of reference. A constant questioning of whether the things we know or believe are correct, or rather, whether the information and biases we've acquired are correct or not.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but we have all seen what misinformed opinion can do in the news and in social media. Stuff is getting circulated that is blatantly untrue from every side, even stuff that is expressly designed to cause discord goes on unquestioned. More importantly, many people will buy into really ridiculous misinformation simply because they want it to be true. I often wonder if even a minority of the general populace will ever start to question their own points of view rather than automatically assuming everyone else is wrong. Even as a safety check. I mean it can happen, I just read a story about a KKK Grand Wizard who realized he was wrong when he met a black woman who treated him with care and respect.
Admittedly, it's really, really hard to challenge ones own ideas and points of view because the point of view is coming from squarely between the eyes.
This isn't a political rant, as I said, it applies to everything. It's anywhere there are more than two people in a room, more than one belief system. It's why so many people can't seem to get along or even agree to disagree. It's only when one finds some common ground, a shared core belief or a foe greater than the issue of discord that some unity comes about. My favorite line about human nature comes from the movie "Starman", when the alien dude says, "Humans are at their very best when things are at their worst."
How this effects us as creatives is that there is a tendency to accept whatever is the current way of doing things as THE way. It's as true for the artist as it is for the associate branch manager of 7/9ths Bank of Minneola. Change only happens when we question what we think we know.
Just stuff I think about.