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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lenses and Mirrors

Can one tell the difference? Especially when "selfie" is now part of the English dictionary. Your lense becomes your mirror. What is more disturbing is that, we don't even need lenses to be engrossed with "ourselfies". As I was talking to a butler in a hotel in Doha, where close to 70 percent of its customers are Qataris, I wonder does one person there bothered to know his name. Do they know he has a 3 year old kid and an English teacher wife back in his homeland to feed. Do they know that he was a teacher himself and now had to change his career path to serve utterly service hungry customers in a land where people are "tested" with the wealth of oil. Now, when was the last time we take pleasure in taking a mental picture of others rather than ourselves? When was the last time we look at a photo of others long and hard and look at their eyes, not at their background of world landmarks, or what people are relishing and whom they are hugging, or what parties they are throwing, or what luxury of life they are enjoying (to sum up, the selfies of others). At which point did we stop looking at what people's eyes are saying. We can tell someone is hungry, cold, tired, sick, lonely, anxious, just by looking at their eyes. Of course that is if we look at the real person, not the person's selfies. On Facebook (aptly named of course)for example, it can be so visually noisy and ironic on how the subject gets drowned by the objects around it. In the end, backdrops matter and the subject which is the living human being becomes the constant prop amidst a dynamic stream of very important backdrops. We end up noticing the good fortunes of others but forgot to notice and truly care about the bad fortunes of some others. And us, oh how have we become so, oh I hate to use this word but yes, narcissistic, in love with our photos, our lives, our desires, our achievements, us, us, us.

Do you know why I think we watch movies? Because that is the only time we are concentrating on others and not ourselves. We cringe over bad manners an actor customer does to an actor waiter. We cry over the Bambi cartoon losing his mother. We even get worried when superman is losing his powers although we know superman will always win at the end of the movie. When was the last time we care about the misfortune of strangers? Those whom fortune and misfortune will not benefit us in any way.

Don't get me wrong, Im very much guilty of selfies too. But still that doesn't warrant me from asking myself and even you, which gives one a better mirror of oneself - your beautiful smile on your camera, or a beautiful smile from someone to you. "Click".

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