Two thing or not too thing
About fifty plus years ago at summer Bible School in Phillips, Maine.
Maybe not quite 60 years old now,
Walking along Alameda Creek is not a place to get an understanding of current affairs from around the world although occasionally I get a glimpse of the world passing me by.
We experience the universe through our senses. As individual humans have the same set of senses, we can compare our individual experiences with those of others and when where is agreement a sense of “reality” emerges..
When those experiences match or are a close match the sensual experiences people come to accept the experience as common. There is a house, we all know what is a house. Or more general ,shelter, and how over 300,00 years that word representing the concept of shelter means the same thing even as the actual material “thing” evolves and changes..
In the past people did not actively sit around comparing their sensual experiences, their time was occupied with the necessities of survival. Those behaviors which enabled survival were maintained and repeated not only enabling survival but resulted in a structure of human behavior. When people did things that worked (enabled survival) they did them again and again as they became norms in the society. This is the process of Human Culture..
Wherever there are people who survived , from that behavior which enabled survival, emerged a structure of human behavior.
Here its easily acceptable . . . We don’t need anything more than what we see. “We get it!”
The concept of a “thing” was important to this process. Perhaps to the universe there are no things, just a oneness
Form is not different from emptiness,
Emptiness is not different from form.
Form is emptiness,
Emptiness is form.
The Heart Sutra
While it is our senses which provide us the data about the universe , it is our mind using “reason” which gives that data—beyond our ability to develop instinctual response— to have meaning.
Photographs are as close to representing what we see, how humans experience the universe visually. Show a photograph of a house ,people see it and say, “†hat is a house., ” there is a common word and common definition.
A photograph is light reflecting off an object just as an image is sensed by the eye, the brain interprets the image, by differentiating and identifying the different things, it defines the relationship between the things and then we understand or “know what the photograph is about.”
Assume that the universe is a bunch of things with void between them. This is not unusual.a Greek philosopher thousands of years ago expressed. Maybe it is , maybe it is not. But one behavior that enabled human beings to survive was to differentiate one thing from another and give it a name. .
Originally somewhere in the beginning of human beings there was no dictionary, no instruction manual, there were no words, no tools. Humans made it all up.
Human beings,. like every life form, behaves—Praxis. Individuals do things, and the one thing all life must do is that which enables survival.
One important development which enabled human survival was the ability to know the universe as a bunch of things and survival became differentiating one thing from another, and defining its relationship to human/individual survival—for example, identifying edible from poison
We look at a photograph, differentiate the things in it, find their relationship to each other and then we know the meaning of the photograph. These images are a little different . . .
The camera produces us the same image we see, as long as we have the variables of f-stop, focus and exposure time correctly adjusted.
If these variables are not “correctly adjusted to the human experience” is it no longer a photograph? That would be to say that photography is more specific than just a process of making an image, its a process of making an image similar to what humans see. But Id on’t think it has to be so limited.
What did I see ? What did you see? Did we see the same thing? and How many of us saw the same thing? However you put it, in society there is a common agreement on the idea that “things” exist, that photography documents that “things” exist, and thus when experiencing a photograph , to get its “true essence”— “its reality” —it is necessary to identify the things in the image and what their relationship is to each other.
These images of Alameda Creek try to see photography as just another graphic arts technique—graphic arts refers to those techniques which are used to make multiple copies of the same image such as offset printing, wood block, or etching, There is no more to visually experience than color, shape, gesture, line . . .
My mother had a stroke, severe memory loss and expressive aphasia . I was involved in her care . for2 3 1/2 years She never recovered .I made some photographs.
Sometimes I thought about how lonely she felt, she was intelligent, informed, had opinions and liked to discuss them
A few weeks before she passed my sister came from Japan to spend some time, we celebrated he 90th birthday. We have over 60 years of photographic images in our family. One of the great things photography has done is to give us a visual record of different stages of the physical changes that our loved ones go through and it reminds me to appreciate the whole person they were.
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha