Marcel Proust: The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
How easy it is in modern life to escape to a new place or a new person. If our desires balance between stability and adventure as Esther Perel teaches, then how do we navigate these needs? Renew on location is a term I learned of in her talk with Alain de Botton. It is to see with new eyes perhaps someone or someplace we have grown accustomed to know, to see that the person beside us is a continuous evolving mystery we can see best with intention as we choose not to disengage into an electronic device.
The world of technology provides constant change and I am alarmingly unsettled that new love cannot stand a chance against the barrage of temptation within the portable devices. And it is so apropos that the mystery, the beauty of what we choose to have in front of us could regard the distinct splendor of Divinity.
I see as I travel a remarkable number of beautiful people. One of the men I met while in attendance of the Rockport Art Festival just recently said to me in response to a question, “I like to live life in person.” He had my attention and also my respect. My question had been does he have an Instagram.
Relate locally. We have access to everyone these days ——- except those who are choosing to opt out. Opt out of your next phone call and see the life in front of you. See your dogs and cats and plants more often. See life less through a screen. I struggle to find this balance. Because of my travel to art events I meet people I care about with whom phone relations are the only way to keep the relationship; it is my conundrum. How much time do I invest in communication? Is the phone a lifefloat that keeps relationships alive but not thriving and as an unintended effect how many relationships are not happening because of looking elsewhere.
I believe strongly in honoring those in our physical proximity dignity and grace and affording them the magic of truly being seen. Now that’s a beautiful circle I love to engage in.
See with new eyes, see asparagus as Manet. Reinvent, get removed from the treadmill of auraless communication. See and be seen, for the most natural and I believe by far most satisfying communication is visible, tangible, palpable, breathing, living, glowing, vulnerable, eye contact, long pauses, short pauses, communication that involves walking across a room.
We’re starving ourselves as a population. I hope we can fully wake up to it, myself included. Or maybe more accurately, we’re aware of it but settling for it. It is in a way less challenging for we can spend time with people we don’t even want to be around in person and not even realise we are perpetuating a relationship unsustainable another way. Social media are easier, as is phone, it comes on our terms, is highly controllable.
I predict there will be a time in my life when I have reconciled this issue. But I fight it and I battle back and forth between the simplicity and quiet life of a reasonable amount of stimulation in front of me (the one without technology) and the one that connects me to everyone I care about. That is why I haven’t reconciled it; because I do care. And sometimes it is the only way to communicate; but it almost always falls short.
Where is locally? Right in front of you. In a global culture the backyard has changed. I’m advocating for travel. I’m also advocating for wherever you choose to be, be fully there. Go to Paris and give your attention to those in front of you. Use social media when you’re truly alone. Talk on the phone when you find it impossible to meet in person. Raise your standards and your standards will meet you in a new and beautiful place.
Be vigilant, for this path will throw pebbles in your shoes making you feel like artificial communication is the only way. It’s uncomfortable at times but the rewards involve a oneness I see only in shared breathing space. Spend time with people whose air you might like to exchange between your lungs.