As a child I loved philosophy and martial arts, of course this meant loving all things Bruce Lee and that meant his son, Brandon, too. He made a wonderful movie called ‘The Crow’ back in 1993 and I remember watching his last interview (on the old VHS before the movie starts) where he explains that we see life as an inexhaustible well of opportunity, that it seems limitless. He explains that the reality is that our lives are finite, posing some sobering questions; how many times would we see a sunrise or sunset? How many times will we stand under a full moon in our lifetime? Perhaps twenty? Maybe less? Or remember a day in our lives with such detail that we feel is so important to who we are that we could never forget it? Perhaps ten more times or not even that, yet it all seems limitless.
This weighed heavy on me as a young boy and something I have held onto today.
We see our lives as being limitless and move about our lives dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. We forget to the do the most important thing – live now, in the moment. If we do not, then life will pass us by and we will find ourselves old without stories to tell.
In light of that experience of my youth, I have set about trying to consciously do one thing everyday that I wanted to do. One decision I took early on was to get up and watch the sunrise and set as often as I can (sometimes meaning I’d stay up throughout the night if I drank enough gin) and ponder the question ‘which one did I think was the best?’ Ultimately, for some, the answer to that question will come down to whether you fancy yourself as an optimist (sunrise-new dawn, new day) or pessimist (sunset-the end, moving into darkness). Personally, I love to look up and wonder at the stars ushered in by sunset, but after some time doing this, I came to think as Katsumoto does when he realises the beauty in the blossom of all flowers, and think of them as all being perfect.
So get up and stop whatever it is you are doing that seems so important right now and do something you haven’t don’t before. Do something that fills your soul with joy that you haven’t done for ages, you will never know how many more times you will get to enjoy it. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live it.
Not withstanding the fact the Internet is a great place to assemble for hysteria, #thedress is all the things people say it was and not at all because of the way our eyes and brains interpret information.
For a start there are technical issues with the image taken, it is subject to lighting issues – the white balance isn’t taken into account, which has a significant impact on the colours contained within an image, but who is going to know anything about that if they have never learned about it? There is also the issue of the various screens out there that people would have been viewing the dress on, making subtle but significant changes to what you see.
Then there is the actual light spectrum and the tiny band which we can see. Millions of colours or variations from a simple set of prime colours we learn about, a handful of names to describe them and our eyes work with red and green (maybe blue too?) The restrictions on our ability to define the colours we see then impacts our ability to reconcile what is there versus what we see.
Which brings me on to my favourite part of all of this; we only see 10% of what’s in front of us and our brains make up the rest using its experience. This is why eye-witness reports are not always reliable and why someone in a gorilla suit can walk across a stage and no one sees him. We can override what see with what we think is there, or by what we think should be there.
For the record, after plugging back deep into the Matrix, I thought it looked gold and blue, but may have been black and white on the assumption the image taken was influenced by the camera settings.
Here another dress that suffered the question of ‘what colour is it?’
Other memes from the Internet over #thedress.
Now if only we can get people to care about and debate issues that are really affecting us with the passion shown over this dress the world might start to see some real change.
A long, long busy day, taking pictures at a homes for people rally out in the cold. My train was delayed and I had to wait 20 minutes shivering on the freezing cold platform, but then something wonderful happened.
As I waited, a man in his 60’s came and stood on the platform along from me and he was shortly followed by a young girl, perhaps 20. We sat in silence together, I was busy reviewing some of my photos and looking at some information from the people I met today when I heard the lady ask the man if he had the train line app to see which train would get her to her destination the quickest. He said he did not have a smart phone and then went on to give her a comprehensive talk through which train would get in to which station, and at what time. It didn’t look like he worked for a train firm but his knowledge was spot on.
Although he did not have a smart phone he had something more valuable – experience.
They continued their conversation and traded stories about their day, their plans, hopes and dreams. We boarded the same coach on the train together and their conversation continued. I looked around and watched the train coach full of people sat in silence on their phones, earplugs in. The assumed position, hunched over squinting into a tiny box of lights after a long day, most likely looking at a computer screen, oblivious of the world around them – except for the man and woman who had struck up the conversation earlier on the train platform. Ironically, I felt the need to capture this ‘missed moment’ and wondered how many times a day we miss moments, however small, that may brighten our days up in an immeasurable way just because we wanted to catch up on the latest Facebook post from our friends, tweet from our favourite celebs or the sporting news? Was I missing my own moment by pulling out the camera? Before boarding the train, I found myself drawn to the Age Concern billboard ‘No one should have no one’, I thought on the train that it is entirely conceivable that the man on the train platform might not have spoken to another soul tonight until he returned to work tomorrow or wherever he came from this evening, except for the intervention for the young lady.With the technology at our disposal, we are both more connected and disconnected than at any time in our history.
How many single serving experiences are we missing every day? And yet it all seems limitless. It’s not. Life is finite and we should make the most of each moment now because we won’t get them again. Life is about our journey, not the destination. Enjoy it.