Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I See You

I liked the film Avatar for many reasons: I'm a geek and like special effects; I got to wear cool 3D glasses; Sci-Fi speaks to my wild imagination; the Na'vi were cooler than humans; I was sitting next to a cute boy. But beyond all of these obvious draws, there was something small, yet really kind of profound to take away: "I see you. "Yeah...maybe you missed that...

Well, I didn't miss it and I think speaks kind of deeply to our (21st Century "Western") tendency towards self-absorption. We really like people to see us, but we aren't so good at seeing others. We spend so much time and effort and concern on getting other people to see our specialness in lieu of ever taking the time to see their specialness (and no, not that kind of specialness). Think about it, when's the last time you were with someone and they spent more time finding out about you than they did talking about them? If you've had this experience in recent memory, it's probably safe to say you remember it because it happens so very seldom. But then again, when's the last time you spent time with someone and were more concerned with getting to know them then you were in presenting yourself? Eek, right?

Yet, beyond our shameless displays of self promotion (yes, shameless), all most of us all are also guilty of projecting what we want to see onto others because (1) it's easier and (2) we like to see what we want to see. We do it because it's easier to understand us than it is for us to understand "them". However, they are indeed not "us," so our projections only serve to create false facades where actual, complex, interesting, people should be.

So, what does it mean to see someone? Hmm, good question. Let's explore

Seeing is Selfless

To see is to put yourself aside. It is to defer self to another. We don't like doing that because by nature, we are attention whores and we like to know other people are thinking about us, because, heck - we're thinking about us. Yep, just because we're not all dancing on tables with our shirts hiked up doesn't mean we don't like being the center of our own and everyone else's universe.

Seeing is Patient
Hmm, how so? Well, seeing means waiting for the other person to reveal themselves - as quickly or as slowly as they may do so. This is hard because we often want what we want when we want it...and sometimes folks don't comply. How about we learn to just "sit back, shut up, and enjoy the ride" of getting to know the people in our lives. All will be revealed in time.

Seeing is Honest
Seeing requires the "see-er" to be willing to accept whatever it is that's there. This is tough because we like to lie to ourselves and see in people only what we want to. Usually this means reducing people to simple characitures (bitch, jerk, man/woman of my dreams, etc...). Being honest means acknowledging the complexity of what we see - the good, the bad and the ugly.

No comments:

Post a Comment