I was caught. And then I was chastised for it. This made me feel…
Frustrated. Hurt. Misunderstood. All manner of thoughts and feelings which took away a little from that pile of joy I left in the corner.
I was walking home from the train recently when a car approached me in the oncoming lane. At first I didn’t see anyone driving it, it was dark. But then I finally see the person driving it but there’s something really wrong with them. Instead of a mouth, there are tentacles hanging off their face. Looking surprisingly like Cthulhu or Davey Jones.
Now, I know that this isn’t what this person looks like but this was clearly what my eyes were seeing and the heuristics in my brain were telling me. So as I walked my path, I stared with a focus that is reserved for that thing a boy discovers in puberty, bacon wrapped shrimp. And after another twenty steps, my view realigns with reality and it’s just a twenty-something boy and there are no tentacles.
I’m sure it has happened to you or even that you’ve yelled at someone about it. It’s time we had the ‘Don’t Stare’ talk. Now, I didn’t get that talk or look in the previous Elder God encounter but it got me thinking about all the times I did as a child.
It is considered rude to stare at someone. From what I understand, the reasoning tends to be personal with the alleged victim with some feeling like the attention is unwarranted or that something must be wrong about them. We all have our reasons and feelings for what this makes us feel.
But we never talk about why we stare. Or if we do, it is on the wrong aspect of it. That by staring you are doing some sort of harm to the subject of your gaze. Now for the standard disclaimer: there are people who are staring for the wrong reasons, to attempt to hurt your feelings, or increase some emotion of their own. I get this but this has never been the majority and we should strive to not be constrained by the few.
So why do we stare? It’s simple; really, we lack an understanding of the situation before us. For whatever reason, the scene before us just doesn’t make sense to us. Now as children, we are so innocent of the world and we haven’t seen even 1% of what we will see going through life and our brains lack the wisdom to understand these new scenarios so we just look and look and try to put the puzzle together.
Rather than do this thought experiment with people, let us talk about Chairs. What makes something a chair? Is it that you can sit in it? Giant Bean Bags. That it has legs? A stool. We all have a category for chairs, when I talk about a chair you immediately know what I am talking about. But when we see something and don’t understand, there is a missing category there. We stare in the hopes that more time, a different viewing angle, or some other factor will cause a category to claim it.
We strive for understanding.
Final Experiment Time
I take pictures of a lot of very weird things. Like the below picture for instance. Do you know what it is?
To be honest, I’m only like 70% sure what this is. (http://bit.ly/1ipFkPa)
If you’d like to read a view from the other side, I suggest reading this – http://joyfulcatholicmom.blogspot.com/2013/09/open-letter.html?m=1