Thursday, December 23, 2010


Neon Bottle

Pretty cool trick, eh? How did I set it up? Black lights and mirrors? No. All I did was notice.

Two nights ago when I turned out the light to go to bed, I had left my computer speakers powered up and the blue light from one of them faintly illuminated the bottle of alcohol. I noticed it and immediately decided to get the picture the next night. Here's the actual set up on my messy desk.

The point is simply this. The other day I was complaining about not finding anything worth shooting with my camera. But the problem is not the scenery, it's the photographer. There are photo opportunities every where, you just have to notice and let yourself see them.

But I can appreciate that extends beyond simple photography. There are infinite special moments, treasures, and times in our lives, the question is whether or not we will notice them as they happen.

"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice."
-R. D. Laing, British psychiatrist

Sure it would be easy to just think of that as a platitude like, "Life isn't measured by the breathes we take, but by the moments that take our breath away". I don't want to think about it in a "touchy/feely" way. Instead, I have been thinking about it this morning more from a practical application.

Failure to notice will not evade principles and laws of nature. If I don't notice getting older, I am still going to age. If I don't notice the law of gravity, I will still fall if I don't notice the edge of the Grand Canyon. That means there is no escaping consequences in the misguided comfort of "ignorance is bliss".

In looking at Laing's statement in a literal way, it is definitely true. "Fail to notice" meets the definition of ignorance. And the less you know, the more limited your range of thinking will be. It's as simple as that.

But "noticing" is not a magic bullet. Noticing won't make everything turn into "It's a wonderful life". It is just a start. You are the Captain of a ship. In the distance you notice a big iceberg. Yay, you saved the day, right? Wrong, because noticing the iceberg did nothing to change the course of the ship. Noticing has to be paired with action to be effective.

Where am I going with all of that? I don't know. It's early and the Red Bull hasn't kicked in yet.

But today I am going to make a concentrated effort to notice one thing that I would have normally overlooked and then appreciate (a form of action) it for what it is. I'll start with that.

In that vein, I noticed there was some leftover ham in the fridge. I think I'll go appreciate some ham and eggs for breakfast.

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