“Zen is the way of splitting the self again and again, until there is nothing left.” Frederick Lenz
“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” W.C. Fields
“Give me boredom. At least I know where I’m going to eat and sleep tonight.” Al Paca
“Plato in the peonies, Socrates force-growing his own hemlock. A man toting a sack of blood manure across his lawn is kin to Atlas letting the world spin easy on his shoulder.” Ray Bradbury
“If you think training is expensive, try ignorance.” Peter Dricler
Tickets at the Strasburg Rail Road are $15.50 for coach; ignorance as always is free.
“You can’t change yourself, nothing can change you: no Primal Therapy, or Encounter groups-nothing. All that can happen is that you can come to accept yourself. You think you are ugly, then be ugly. You don’t like your body, you don’t like your mind-they are you, accept them.
And it is the ego that wants to change, become radiant, enlightened, unique. No one loves themselves. And this is the whole beautiful attitude of the religious man-that nothing can be changed, so eat well, live, enjoy. He doesn’t waste energy fighting against himself. Nothing is wrong but a wrong attitude. You are trying to square the circle-it can be done; if it could, it would no longer be a circle.” Osho
If you have a problem with this you can text or call 717-672-1014, I’m sure they have operators standing by who are experts on change.
“Personally I would never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat, or you can’t wear a hat.” George Carlin
Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre has been called the bible of existentialism. It’s a long, difficult book to read, and depending on who you ask, it’s either a work of pure genius, complete nonsense or both.
It might be worthwhile to look at some other things that Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in order to understand existentialism and his perspective in general.
For example, he said: “All I really want to do is go to the book store, drink coffee and read.” Back in his day book stores didn’t even have Wi-Fi, so you know he was serious.
Another thing that’s crucial to understanding the man and his philosophy is this: “I do not think therefore I am a mustache.” Well, obviously.
And possibly the most important thing he ever said is: “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”
This is especially true of most outdoor photography unless you plan to shoot wide open, convert to black and white, and call it something obscure like being and nothingness.
Abraham Maslow was a psychologist best known for creating his hierarchy of needs. Of the five needs, the first four are referred to as deficiency needs, and are said to motivate people when they are unmet.
One day I was passing through Bird In Hand, and saw one of the hot air balloons filling up as they do most summer afternoons. I decided that I needed a great photograph of it and I was motivated. The light was good, it was warm, and they were launching three at the same time. I was as excited as a donkey on Donkey Derby Day (it’s an Irish thing).
There was plenty of time so I took a few test shots, checked the exposure and the camera suddenly died. Not having the extra battery with me, I stayed to watch for a while, pretending that it was enough just to see three balloons floating into the gorgeous blue sky, but it wasn’t, my needs were unmet.
The fifth need is self-actualization, and he estimated that only two percent of people would ever reach that state.
He is also known for Maslow’s hammer, popularly phrased as “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Or in my case, if all you have is a dead camera, go home, eat dinner and try again another time.
In his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki writes; “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
What he calls beginner’s mind refers to doing something without thinking about achieving anything, which could be recognition, likes on a Facebook page, or a tweet by the President and a free room for life in one of his hotels.
Last night I spent two frustrating hours taking photos of colored pencils for a piece I wanted to write called selective focus. It was to be about the way we get caught up in our own bullshit by the way we think, and what we think about. So of course the photo had to be tack sharp, it had to be perfect.
Finally I decided the whole thing was pointless and gave up, putting the pencils in an old cigar box along with some crayons I had for another project on color. I looked over and saw something that was random and perfect and nothing special (also the title of a fantastic book by Charlotte Joko Beck).
I took six photos for the simple reason that I thought it was cool. Yes, I shot RAW and JPEG in manual on a tripod, but people don’t change overnight. And it was absolutely perfect in its own way! It’s a simple photo of crayons in an old cigar box given to me by my father 20 years ago.
So at 2 am last night I had an epiphany and it was free, there is true joy in doing something just because its fun. I can’t wait to tell this to my therapist next week when I pay my bill. She might tell me that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but I have a feeling she’ll read more into this than there really is.
Immanuel Kant, in The Critique of Pure Reason said; “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”
In other words, it’s all balls in a boat.
These are Enoki mushrooms I shot one day experimenting with still life photography. If you’ve never seen them, it’s hard to appreciate just how small they are, the whole package easily fit in the palm of my hand. Up close though they look very different, which brings up the matter of perspective.
We think that things such as birth, old age, sickness and death are a big deal, but of course those things are unavoidable. Now I’ve already been born, many times I was sick, and at 57 I’m rounding third base into old age, but death I’m not too comfortable with.
So I ask myself, self, how can I put everything into perspective? How can I accept the four noble truths, my own mortality, and the fact that I didn’t win Powerball again?
Michael A. singer, author of The Untethered Soul wrote: “You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?”
He makes a very good point, but that philosophy goes out the window when you’re flirting with the gorgeous blonde at the Mercedes dealership.
Many, many years before that, before people had cars, or even paperback books, Marcus Aurelius, an Emperor of Rome, is reported to have said: “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Well you really can’t argue with that kind of clarity, but he wasn’t photographing tiny mushrooms from two inches away, trying to get everything tack sharp, properly exposed and correct the white balance because he used the wrong color lights.
Note to self: buy bigger mushrooms next time, daylight balanced bulbs, and learn to use the perspective warp tool in Photoshop.