Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What We See of the World

During my first quarter of college, I took one last English course - though the school called it Science, Technology, and Culture. I knew it would be a little different when the professor explained the format - we were to read the assignments and write an online piece about it or about the posts of another student. I loved that class, and I really got to like the professor. I often walked with him after class toward his office.

One day, he laid a fascinating piece of wisdom on me that still sticks with me. I commented that people see so much more of the world today than ever before, to which he said, "They see the same amount as they always have. They just see more in less detail."

I asked him to explain, and he pointed out that the human eye can take in just the same amount of visual information as it always could. Now we just see the world rush by from speeding cars or screaming jets, so we miss the finer details people who lived in the days of the horse and buggy might notice.

Twelve years later, I still remember his point. I think about it as I am wandering through airports, observing so much humanity around me, and so little connection. We're all too busy buzzing along to take time to notice each other. I didn't start writing this post as an examination of societal woes, but obviously it must be on my mind just as it is so many others. We have become a society so bent on getting ahead ourselves or "helping" people (so long as someone else pays for it).

Maybe this economic crunch will help more people take the time to stop and smell the roses. Greet a neighbor and maybe make a friend. Listen to someone older relate a story from the past. Study the scriptures rather than simply reading them - or read them instead of just thinking about doing so. Call an old friend and catch up. Take time to play games with children. Go for a long walk in the neighborhood.

Who am I kidding? Push the gas pedal and get outta MY WAY! (just kidding)

-- Robert


Crisanja said...

I've tagged you! http://crisanja-livelikenooneelse.blogspot.com/2008/10/tagged.html

Natasha said...

I agree that this crunch is going to have some positive effects and I'm excited by that. We all go through hard times and I think it's even harder when we're going through them alone (ex. losing a child). But with so many people being affected here, I think it may not be that hard. I actually think that things are going to get much worse. But it just might change our very souls into something brighter.

Robert said...

A refiner's fire... that certainly feels likely right now. And beneficial. It just won't be easy.

I won't say I hope you're right, but I wouldn't be surprised if you are.