As a species, we are very visual. We take a lot of pictures nowadays thanks to the smart-phone technology that made cameras ubiquitous. We do it almost mindlessly, forgetting to savor the moment. We rush to share these half-digested moments of being through social media. We are – I am afraid – losing our existential sight. We look, but we don’t see.
So, here is a thought from 1969, from a wonderful book by Robert Leverant Zen In the Art of Photography, to help you reconnect with your eyes and with yourself:
A camera is an extension of ourselves. An appendage to bring us closer to the universe. We created such an instrument because we had lost the joy of pure seeing, of connecting up to the unseen and heartfelt with the seen and not heartfelt. The internal with the external. The proof of this experience is our photograph. This is the Iron Age, the age of proofs. Our photograph proves to us that we have broken through our veils and become our universe. We have allowed the picture and the picturetaker and the picturetaking to become one. Inseparable in a moment of no time. And then we forget. We go back into time. Which is why we take more pictures. The internal with the external = the Eternal. [...] This is the Zen in the art of photography. In discovering the universe, we discover ourselves.
That’s right: “in discovering the universe, we discover ourselves.” So, rush not to share your snapshot of yourself. Savor this moment of being, this moment of reconnecting the internal with the external. Find yourself first before you share yourself with your “social network.” That would be an existentially-true selfie, an inner selfie.
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