Observations on the Real World

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The path we have followed so far through life, has been guided by the decisions we have made along the way; decisions partly grounded in a pool of 'observations' of our social and physical surroundings. Our biological senses have channeled these 'observations' into our conscious and unconscious minds and it is from there that path-constructing decisions have been made. By blocking out some of these sensory 'observations' we reduce the resource pool upon which our life changing decisions can be based.

Whilst our sense of sight happens to be the main topic of focus here, the argument can reasonably be extended to any of our other biological senses. Our focus here is that we should be as aware as possible of our immediate surroundings; not allow self-imposed filters to restrict our everyday observations of the real world we are living in.

We have all witnessed individuals attempting to carry out tasks in the real world, whilst their minds are occupying the digital world of cyberspace; they gain entrance via electronic plugs inserted into their ears. How many times have we waited patiently at a payment point, whilst a cashier attempts to make contact with one of these cyberspace individuals in the queue ahead of us? Only when the cashier is able to make contact, can the payment process be moved along to completion. Or, maybe you have had to step out of the way to avoid a collision with one of these cyberspace beings, or worse, had to get your car repaired because they drove their vehicle into the back of yours when you stopped at real traffic lights, whilst their brain had gone digital. So, shouldn't we encourage ourselves and others to make a real effort to separate these real and digital worlds? There are benefits in inhabiting one world at a time, thereby enhancing the pleasures inherent in each. Each has much to offer, but they frequently make poor bedfellows.

The photo at the top of this article shows a view of the city of La Paz, Bolivia. But it was not taken because of the view. When you looked at the photo a few moments ago, did you also notice what observation motivated me to take it? If you did not, then a second look may suggest what impressed and concerned me most about this particular scene I was a witness to.

Some of the observations that we make, may encourage us to take actions that can help either ourselves or others. If we restrict our observations then our potentially beneficial actions may also become limited.

By far the most common 'escape' route from the real world of course is via the mobile phone. When you have witnessed a driver pull out slowly into a stream of fast moving traffic and wreck their car as a result, then you can truly appreciate how disconnected the digital and real worlds can be. We sometimes forget that seemingly trivial actions in the digital world can have serious consequences in the real one.

The reason many people give for living part-time in cyberspace is due to the 'boredom' they experience with reality. But boredom is just a state of mind; created by a perceived absence of stimulating observations. Well who is responsible for CREATING these observations? Is it not ourselves? Should we not make more effort to actively observe and interact with the reality that surrounds us? We may travel the same route to work, college the shopping mall etc each day, but each day our immediate environment enroute will be different. Most of the people we encounter will not be the same as the day before, and whilst it is not possible, or perhaps even desirable, to interact personally with many of them, it serves no harm to observe one's fellow human beings and learn from our observations.

As an exercise in making active observations, try walking for no more than 5 minutes around the area in which you live; the more familiar you are with the area the better. We often tend to block out what we perceive as being known to us already, but we forget that the real world is dynamic in nature; our immediate environment is not exactly the same as the last time we observed it. I suggest only 5 minutes because the distance covered is not important, the observations are there to be witnessed. But as you walk along, make an effort to look at familiar buildings and objects with an inquisitive eye. Do not just look down and straight ahead, but acknowledge that there is also a world above your head; maybe a neighbour could be advised of a loose roof tile or wobbly TV aerial or maybe there is some interesting architectural feature that did not previously catch your eye. It's not that you are looking for some particularly striking observation that will become memorable over time, but just to establish in your mind that you have actually 'observed' something new, even though it was probably there the last time you walked past.

So, join me, step out and interact fully with this beautiful world that we are privileged to share.

What is this word "boredom"?

Author: Maurice Thurman

Copyright © 2012 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources

Holistic Living Annex (DECEMBER 2012)

4 Responses for “ Observations on the Real World”

  1. Harold Knightley says:

    We are supposed to be as still as the rock. That's what motivated you to take that photo Thurman. I hope I am right.

  2. Shalini says:

    Nice read.

  3. Maurice Thurman says:

    Yes Harold, the rock needs to be still. It is there to warn of potential devastation for approaching people and vehicles. But if it moved forward, it would itself be the cause of devastation to those living below. My question at the time was .... Where are the other rocks?
    Thank You Shalini.

  4. Sangeet says:

    We are so caught up with the fast pacing world that we often forget the inner silence and appreciation of our present moment. Well said Maurice.


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