Thursday 1 January 2015

Are You Experienced? ; Ten reasons not to like the internet, Blinding past experiences & Double exposures

Paradoxically, my father isn't a great fan of the internet. The paradox being that he uses it at least an hour a day to watch documentaries on youtube, and window shop. Actually it's at least two hours a day. But his lack of 'internet love' is due to what he calls the 'zombified side effect' of it.

In short, he's refering to the addictive and potentially all consuming nature of internet useage. More specifically, it's when he sees people walking around just hunched into their smartphones, tapping away whilst trying to respond to or intitate a conversation somewhere in the electronic ether. He finds that disturbing and dangerous for all the logical reasons you can think of ( e.g. being on the move and not paying attention to the surroundings, the aforementioned addiction, and potential brain damaging effects, etc) .

There has been an internet backlash ever since I can remember using it, so it's nothing new. But I have noticed that it's been on the increase in the last five years or so. My father's rationale is mild and laden with common sense. There are others out there, who are more brusque in their disdain :-

10 reasons why the internet is not the answer

This is pretty devastating stuff. Not because it's quite scathing, but more because it's so succinct in it's reading of the scenarios that have lead to this point. I can exemplify this myself in the form of writing and maintaining a blog such as this. You are effectively giving a lot of time and energy away for potentially zero return. Or as my father iterates 'you're putting all that effort in for nothing!'. But I don't see it that way.

We while away hours and even days in meeting rooms, bars and pubs talking about everything under the sun, which is done for pleasure. A blog is also inherantly done for the love of the art of doing it and engaging in the process. The parallel options are using social networks for lengthier self-expression.

People spend hours on facebook daily, for example, and this is all done with no real return other than a bunch of 'like's' and maybe a few 'pat on the back' style thank you comments.But there is the potential for some extended human warmth, if the conversation leads over into the real world. That's worth it's weight in gold.

Ultimately, you have choices when using the internet for self-expression. As in life, you can decide how far or how little you wish to spread yourself and how much you intend to communicate. More importantly, as the proliferation of both people and traffic has now reached billions at any given moment, the road to monetization means keeping a level of discretion combined with a paradoxical drip feeding of information to entice the customer into remaining interested ( and staying)  with your concept. That's a combination of luck, skill, and talent. Good karma helps, too.

Our past is what brings us to the present. Karma has a part to play in that. At it's basic level, it's about the law of cause and effect. Another way to look at it is 'you always reap what you sow'. But what if everything you've already done, no matter how great or good, is stifling your moves into the future? :-

Your past experiences are blinding you

It's hard to let go of a lot of concepts and processes the way they have been described here. Our personalities aren't naturally geared for the sort of regeneration that entails coming out of a chrysalis and turning into a butterfly. However, that sort of thing can be achieved without going through the potential trauma of using mind altering substances which can bring on a complete breakdown.

But it entails patience and practice. I'm not sure it can be achieved so easily by taking a weekend or even fortnightly retreat away from it all, although that does help. It's more about sustained and gradual practice, a la going to the gym, running and so on. More specifically, yoga and similar inner balancing practices can help enormously. All of this takes time and courage. But the results are something I can vouch for myself.

It's ironic that in a cultural landscape where we're all using the internet to self promote like never before, we've become reticent ( at least on the surface), to tend to our inner-self. But that's on the increase as the energy consumed and dissipated in using a non-physical medium to communicate, is far greater than many people have realised. Balance and going back to our roots, is what is needed and people are doing this more than before. And that's a very good thing. 

Blending oursleves into nature is something at a core level, we all want to do . The levels of desire to do this obviously differs from person to person, but the feel and smell of country air, or even a garden with grass and plants is embedded in us at some deep rooted, biological level. That concept can be reiterated and blended into an artform :-

Dramatic double exposures that blend portraiture and nature photography

To see that level of synergy used so effectively in a visual medium, is nothing short of wonderful. The first picture was so strikingly beautiful, that I just kept looking at it for ages. That's when the 'magic' happens. You end up getting a blend of two very seperate parts that create a much bigger whole.

And that's what the creative process is all about. Taking seemingly disparate elements and throwing them together, can make a masterpiece. It can also make a mess, but that's a part of the process, too.

The magic of creativity is all about that 'extra factor'. It's an 'indefinable something', that becomes the glue to bind everything together; almost like some form of cosmic and spiritual alchemy, that cannot be logically explained with ease.  But I trust it implicitly. Just like the internet, it's part of a journey.

And like the internet, it in itself encourages you to let go of something at a particular moment. For all art is ultimately left unfinished. That's what gives it it's character, meaning and value. It then takes on a life of it's own, beyond the life of it's creator and then it's curator(s).

Hopefully just like life itself, it will ultimately be rediscovered and recycled. Both consciously and subconsciously.

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