Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"God is other people"

What Sheryl emailed to me today:

"AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): You should closely monitor your
environment for beguiling appearances of the number seven. I have
reason to believe that seven may be involved in your current
inconveniences and dilemmas. I theorize that seven has been trying to call
attention to itself in an odd or irritating manner so as to get you to tune
in to certain benefits that could be associated with the number seven --
benefits you've been overlooking. I would even go so far as to speculate
that seven may be both the cause of and the cure for your itch. Be
especially alert for sevens that are in the vicinity of the color green or the
letter "G." Perk up your intuition anytime seven appears in
advertisements, boxes of food, tattoos, or t-shirts."

(I think the above is from Rob Brezny's astrology column/website )

Sheryl also sent me this in the same email,

"From a numerology website:

Number 7 is the most spiritual of all numbers.

You most likely have some of the following strengths and talents at your disposal if the number 7 appears in your numerology chart:

You are analytical, intellectual, focused, scientific and inventive, contemplative, meditative, spiritual and enigmatic. You are a seeker of truth and an accumulator of knowledge and wisdom.

You prefer working alone and you need space and privacy. You enjoy solitude, but you also like to display your knowledge in public. You are an abstract thinker, you are self-oriented, a perfectionist and you possess great mental strength

Here are some of the career choices that might suit you particularly well if the number 7 is predominant in your chart:

Scientist, religious leader, philosopher, scholar, preacher, sage, teacher, inventor, researcher.

Some of the following weaknesses, which are associated with the number 7, could slow down or even prevent your progress. But don't worry, it's very unlikely that all of the listed characteristics are part of your personality.

Most probably, only one or a few of them will belong to you:

Intimacy might be difficult for you. You can be cynical, selfish, egocentric, withdrawn, aloof, lonely, overly reserved and suspicions.

Maintain your independence, but be careful not to become too inward and isolated."

(I don't know where the above came from, but probably right here )

I actually don't pay any attention to Astrology anymore. I once studied it at length. I don't disregard it, it just does not get my attention these days. Numerology never really caught my attention, though it can be interesting-- especially if you have ever had certain numbers repeating themselves to you over and over again. I have not been seeing "7" everywhere.

It's also New Moon today-- which I don't normally pay much attention to, although I did once discover that I was born on a New Moon, and that every month, 5 days before the new moon I tended to get very moody and introverted. New Moon is generally considered a good time to launch new things.

A friend just wrote to me today after reading my last previous blog entry. She agreed with lot of what I said about the value of creative endeavors being degraded as a trend in our society. But she had positive suggestions as well. I have been considering combining my writing, my photography, and my love of interacting with people ( counseling ) into photographic/written essays. Our friend didn't know this, but she suggested exactly the thing which Sheryl and I have already been considering. I love it when that happens.

I'm including a paraphrased/shortened version of the email here, I edited it slightly and I know that this person values her privacy, so it's anonymous:

"Good morning to you and Sheryl. I was reading your blog, and I am saddened by the pattern our society is taking by continuing to erase the human factor from almost every creative skill we have as people. We are truly our own worst enemies. I believe that computers and technology are wonderful as a tool only to enhance the skill of a person. Your blog really bothered me today because it is only a reflection of what is to come for our future. God must be a great artist to create all of humanity and the beauty of our world. And yet we as a people are continuing as a trend to take away the gifts which God has given us and say "... you know, forget the artist and get the picture off the internet for free or cheap from a distributor."

As you know, this is happening in all areas of society. The trend has been going on for a long time and a lot of the problem has to do with the value and importance of making more money, at all human costs, whatever it takes. Those little sparks of God's creativity given to all of us as a gift; we as a society are replacing with inexpensive technology to purchase at a fraction of the cost to produce it.

When I look at your pictures on the internet I mostly see a person who is capturing the beauty of a moment in time that God has given us.

... if you would do a photographic history of special places and special people in the small towns you and Sheryl have been visiting. Would you have strong competition? I do think your art work would give you an advantage if it reflected you as a person. People want to buy books and art work from places they have been and of course you could be true to the person you are.

...make the photographic journey of the community reflect the value that we all have in all our communities, and take for granted.

You do need people in the art books. People will buy a book if grandpa is sitting, resting on the front porch, capturing that moment in time of how they remember him. We are all searching for value and our society is slowly negating the value of people.

My e-mail is not capturing all my thoughts to you... Again, thank you and Sheryl for all the kindness and help you have given me." --anonymous contributor.

This came at just the right time. I went looking for the quote "God is other people" and could not find it attributed anywhere. It appears to be a commentary on another quote "Hell is other people" by Jean Paul Sartre. Apparently this quote is widely misunderstood:

"Yes, but only if you understand it right:
"Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit has just finished a run at Imago Theater, right across the street from Kboo. The play’s three main characters arrive in hell and discover that their fate is to spend a sleepless eternity together in one small room, and that they are well suited to be each others’ torturers. As one of them says after a while, Hell is other people. But Sartre also said,

…“hell is other people” has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because…when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves, … we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves. Into whatever I say about myself someone else’s judgment always enters. Into whatever I feel within myself someone else’s judgment enters. … But that does not at all mean that one cannot have relations with other people. It simply brings out the capital importance of all other people for each one of us. (From the Imago playbill)"
Source and further information:

Further information:

I'm not a student of Sartre. It seems to me that the above quotes leave out the possibility of divine intervention, especially through the vehicle of "other people."

In any case when one is looking for answers it's probably best to be sure that one is listening for them, and not too busy ranting about the questions to hear.

Of late we have not had many people appearing in our photographic work, and it's a shame because I love doing portraiture and photojournalism. We're a bit isolated out here, and we've allowed ourselves to become shy, maybe even insular. We do travel some, and it would be good for us to come out of the shell more and really dig into a project in a less casual way than we have been. Thanks again "Anonymous".

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