Thursday, February 9, 2012

Photographs vs Experience

I just heard an interview with George Clooney in which he talked about how people aren’t prepared to shake his hand because they’re too busy taking pictures with their cell phones.  Can you believe that?  His comment:  I think that's too bad, because I think people are experiencing less and recording more.”

I notice that at soccer matches.  Yes, I want a picture of my kid scoring a terrific goal.  But even more than I want the picture, I want to really see him doing it.  The set up, his calculation, the goal, his reaction, his team’s reaction, the coach’s reaction, the other fans’ reactions.   I want to experience all of it.  Not to mention me jumping up and down and screaming.  I can’t do that through the lens of my camera.

The other thing I notice at matches is how people talking on their cell phones, or more often texting, interferes with the experience.  They miss things.  We see people everywhere who are so busy telling someone about their experience; they don’t actually get to experience it.  Kabat-Zinn talks about how, in observing a beautiful sunset, once you start to talk about it, you are no longer experiencing it, you are now experiencing your idea of it.

It’s all about being present, mindfully and getting the most out of each and every moment.  These are useful practices.  Now I just want to go on record and say that if I ever have an opportunity to experience George Clooney, and shake his hand, you better believe that no phone, camera or human being is going to get in my way.

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