Nope, that's not me being especially clever, that's an actual quote by Canadian Marshall McLuhan.
In my currently overly-stressed, physically limited, non-writing state*, I find I haven't had the attention span to read much of anything. I've never been a big tv watcher, but lately I have been watching a number of documentaries online through MV Group.
Documentaries, like any information source, are interesting, not only for the actual information, but the lens the information is being filtered through. I'm not just talking about political/educational/environmental/etc agendas, but how our growing knowledge, as a humans species, changes how we process and present 'facts' and 'theories'.
I have talked about this before, but in a different context... how I enjoy reading books written in the past, mainly because of how the ideas of the time are considered horribly wrong/racist/sexist/etc in todays society... Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' is my favourite fiction example, and a series of books about world mythology, written by Oxford/Harvard/Yale/etc professors in the early 1900's is my favourite non-fiction example.
After being down with a bad cold for the past couple of days, I watched several documentary series created over a span of 20 years... from 1994 to present.
The 1994 one was especially interesting, a series called 'Ape Man' about human evolution, and the McLuhan quote came up in relation to how people viewed Neanderthals/etc during the last century, especially in the aftermath of the first and second world wars.**
The quote is quite brilliant when you think about it. We're so used to hearing it written the other way around, "I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it", as a testament to our western-world scientific view of the world around us, that we forget that our perspective when we view something is pre-coloured by our past experiences and beliefs. Our senses are not reliable... this has been proved numerous times in numerous ways.
And no, I'm not going to nerd-out on you, I promise.
Oddly enough, the quote took me away from science/etc and reminded me of another quote I had to Google to get the wording right since it's been... hmmm, probably 10+ years since I heard it:
I hear you say, “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say instead, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint.”
– Marcus Aurelius: The Emperor’s Handbook
For a more complete look at the quote, go here, or Google it yourself :)
I've talked many times before about trying to see silver linings, of looking for the good in the bad, of not dwelling on what's gone wrong, but on what's gone right, and yes, I think this also falls into the category of not seeing something unless you first believe it.
A long-time writing buddy and I exchanged a couple emails about my arm problems, and several of his own physical set-backs, and he said something similar to a previous post of mine about being able to mine bad situations, like injuries, for story material.
Attitude is just another lens through which to see the world. You'll only see bad things if you believe you've got bad luck, or are somehow being persecuted/held back by other people's beliefs/actions/etc.
If you keep chasing the elusive notion of 'happiness', if you're always focused on what you don't have, all that's going to happen is you throw away the good things you do have, because you'll never be satisfied, never take pride in what you've already got, or hold it in any value.
It's the equivalent of having a tapeworm... constantly devouring without being satiated or absorbing proper nutrition. You will be a cancer, not only on yourself, but on those around you.
And that's not healthy, in any aspect of life.
For dreams, especially, too. Chasing that goal on the horizon is awesome, but you still have to rest, you have to eat, you have to drink, you have to enjoy the journey and take pride in the miles walked, in the oases discovered, and in the companions at your side.
Sure, I'm waiting right now, not doing a whole heck of a lot while I'm healing, but I'm also trying to keep hoping, while at the same time, not putting too much pressure on myself, which would certainly cause me to re-injure my arm/back.
I know that means I'm not able to be online a lot lately, but continuing the flash fiction exercises on Fridays is one of the small happy things I'm holding onto right now.
Thank you to those few people who are playing along with me. You are bright stars in my sky :)
*No need to restate what's going on, I'm sure.
** My tastes are eclectic: Another series was on the status/conservation/extinction of big cats in Africa, and another was on animal brains/senses/problem-solving capabilities/etc. I also watched several travel documentaries, ones on specific animal species/areas of the world, the history of how 'murder' became such a popular British entertainment genre, frozen tombs of Mongolia, Dolly (the first cloned sheep), pet food, etc
The one called 'The Disunited States of Canada' is super interesting if you've ever wondered why many Canadians have such a strong, long-held dislike towards Ontario & Quebec.
I think the main reason being, there are 308 seats in the House of Commons, Ontario has 106 of them, Quebec has 75, so these two provinces have a stranglehold on Canadian politics, and will (obviously) never vote to give equal votes/seats to the other provinces. The rest of the Canadian provinces feel they are being treated as second-class citizens since, even if every other province is united in their position, they will be defeated by what Ontario & Quebec want... every single time.
And, like with any documentary, I certainly don't agree with all the individual views expressed... Seems they found an interesting 'range' of people to talk to.
Oh, and today's my big sister's birthday! ...although I know she doesn't read, or even know about my blog... but who cares!