Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Chinese Wisdom

Given the time of year, some of us on Facebook were checking out stories from that time, in Beijing, China.

One thing I'm acutely aware of is my "brain TV" and its ability to dramatize situations I never witnessed. Television is good at taking over this process, providing guided meditations, often synchronized to a narrator, but not necessarily.

My imagination has an ability to "flit" so when I picture that cliche scene, say of Nero fiddling while Rome burns, I get away with a pretty low budget rendering.

Nero doesn't have to look like anyone in particular. Why invest a lot on a cliche?  That's a waste of brain power.

However, if I'm cast in the role of movie director, with a reputation to uphold, then I don't want to take a cliche like "the Tiananmen Square Massacre" and spend gobs of time and energy on some poor slob fantasy version. I should get trusted accounts from eye witnesses, film footage, stills.

Today, with lots of camphones, assembling more accurate mental summaries is in theory possible, provided a public so equipped.  Cameras have a role to play in verifying weapons agreements just as surely.

My attitude towards mass surveillance is share the view with the masses.  I'd like to ogle at Picadilly Circus or Times Square as much as the next guy. What's the harm?  Let us watch.  ODOT, our department of transportation, shares those freeway cams.

Fiction is the time-honored best way to let oneself off the hook.  If you want license to imagine and project, unfettered by facts, choose fiction.

However, lets not focus exclusively on unpleasant or unhappy memories.  The ability to fill in or render, when necessary, is what the imagination is all about.

We may develop our skills, as a TV and film critic, questioning a director's choices, and yet never critique our own onboard programming systems.

Do you believe everything you see projected, in front of your own mind's eye?

Still in Plato's cave are we?

In my quest to self improve, I'll turn a critical eye on my own imagination, letting my editorializing eye know that it itself is being supervised.

The old game, of observing the observer, like a dog chasing its own tail, actually yields positive results if engaged in with gusto and a healthy attitude.  A system is more likely to register improvements when under sincere scrutiny.