Too often, when we look down at our hands, we’re staring at a phone.
This is a sad thing because phones, unless we’re using them AS phones — i.e., talking on them to another person — are not interactive objects.
But that’s okay, we’re told, because the best thing about smart phones is that they are a terrific source of information: this little box of technology, which we should change out, for fashion’s sake, every year or two, connects us to the world!
We watch movies on them. We keep up on the latest talk show. We read what our celebrity guru of choice — fashion, home decor, political analysis, medical advice, dietary regulations — tells us to buy, do, or think.
Oh, and we keep up with the news, the all important news that informs us — when we access trusted, trusted, trusted, reliable, government and social media approved sources — of the latest thing to fear or believe.
But the significant thing that the phone does not do is encourage us to question the information it feeds us. Our part of the relationship consists of passively accepting what we see, mentally consuming and digesting a carefully curated selection of informational food.
It is not for us to think, but to allow others to think — and determine, and analyze, and instruct, and teach — for us. After all, how could we possibly know more than the trusted, trusted, trusted experts? Isn’t it daring, rude actually, to even suggest that we question their words?
The artwork, Contemplation, encourages us to be confident in a most precious gift that humans possess, but are constantly persuaded not to use: rational thought. A young woman, standing in a country meadow on a sunny autumn day, looks down at the leaf in her hand.
In a quiet place, in a state of calm, she is contemplating, meditating, thinking. Perhaps she is doing no more than feeling herself breathe, focusing on how it feels to deeply inhale, then gently exhale. Or maybe her thoughts go deeper, as she wonders, “Is there a God? Did He make this? Or is this a product of sheer chance? I’ve been told many things, many of which conflict and fight with one another — what is true?”
But the important thing is that she is actively thinking, as opposed to passively accepting. And the more she does this, this thinking — and the more we do this, this thinking — the more aware we are, the more questioning we are, the more difficult we are to fool, to browbeat, to pressure, to push, to control.
How odd that we have the potential to find more freedom in a dead leaf than a “smart” phone.
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. My blogs complement the fine art images of Steve Henderson, who creates paintings of freedom, joy, thought, beauty, and joy. You can find his art prints at SteveHendersonCollections.com.
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