I was talking to Ann, a friend of mine during a recent visit to San Francisco. She was talking about how people’s only drive–obsession or addiction really– is to be known. Everybody wants to be known. I’ve been pondering this since I returned. Reality TV, blogs, You Tube, Face Book, My Space, Linked In, online comments…all perfect stages to be visible in a world where technology has enabled us to be heard around the world. And many people are obsessed with the stage. Friends, adds, will you be my linked in. The stress to have these online friends feels like push to be the popular kid on the playground. Do I really need to know Trent is at home working on his race car and that his mood is awake right now? Do I care?
…and when he last logged in? And how many friends he has that don’t know him. Trent was listed as a “Cool New People” on today’s My Space home page. Cool.
And really, who gives a shit about ME? It’s really about what I have to say or show anyway right? I am just the messenger. [My fear is that I’d be the one with no friends on my friends list….Or what a loser I’d be. (Thanks for the add). ]
I walk along the Pier in San Francisco among a million tourists on an packed easter weekend. Families and friends–mostly families. I love to watch them interact.
Who is supposed to know you better than your family?—taking the good with the bad—knowing your entire this-human-incarnation history. They know you, love you, and are there for you. You can run back into their arms at any time, like the toddler on the pier, into their outstretched arms and they are there to catch you, to recognize you. Good or bad it feels familiar, solid ground in the sea of strangers. I watch the parents yelling for their kids as they drift a bit too far from their sight–or just long of earshot.
We are pulled back with the comfort that someone is watching us. Someone who cares if we go or not. Someone looking out for us. Someone who recognizes us. Our tribe. Yes Ann–I suppose that is what we all are longing for. Why we belong to communities, families, groups, schools, clubs, online communities, social networks, teams…..to belong to those outstretched arms.
When I share ideas by blogging, or send postcards everytime I travel, or share photos of what I’m doing each week….am I doing it because I want to be known as Ann suggests? Maybe, I suppose, the human ego at work….but for me it’s more than that. I think about this alot when I’m creating art or making images. What difference does the creative make if I don’t share it with someone? What difference does it make to keep my ideas in my head? My entertainment to pleasure or challenge myself? Why talk outloud in a forest if there is nobody there to hear you? Would you just walk through quietly admiring the beauty of it? Are we created to share ideas (and love) with one another—isn’t this what separates us from animals? When I am walking thru an art museum, I am inspired. I am thinking and feeling. But how much more gets created in the discussion I have with others about the art? How more more do I see with others perspectives and interpretations? Sure, being known is fun. And of course egos are another thing that does separate us from animals (besides thumbs) —-validating our existence. But it’s more than that. It’s connection. In the early days of ebay I started buying lunchboxes. Something I had been collecting for years at flea markets and garage sales and collector shows where I was able to meet the people who owned them in person. I love and remember the stories embedded in each lunch box. Where I got them, from who, what we talked about, how I got there. I was afraid of losing that personal connection online with such a removed process. What I discovered what quite the opposite. (This is before ebay became completely automated and you had email exchanges between the buyer and seller.) I was amazed at how quickly we were able to get related to each other with a few questions and comments back and forth. I even had a picture of what I thought they looked like in my head. What it boils down to I guess is what people are willing to share, be open about, and connect on common interests and values. I don’t have that experience on ebay anymore as it’s become a huge mall.
I’ve met some awesome bloggers who have really opened my eyes to new ideas as we share perspectives. http://lshapproductions.blogspot.com/ and http://museditions.wordpress.com/ and http://sureshg.wordpress.com/
This constant amazing me.
As far as being known goes…..I know for a fact that everything I know, the music I listen too, the art I enjoy, the places I’ve seen, movies, cars, food, resteraunts, politics, religion, sports, ALL OF IT….I know because someone shared themselves, what they know, what they think, how they think. To be known? Who knows…who cares….because if it didn’t happen. I wouldn’t be who I am without you sharing your self and making YOURSELF known to ME.