Wednesday, October 04, 2017


You know how some things that are pretty obvious suddenly hit you as if they are revelations? Well, yesterday, one of those hit me in the shower. Hot water needles gently pricking the skin, watery acupuncture, often seem to have an AHA-inducing effect on me. Here it is, summarised.

We are all strangers to each other.
We are all one.

Both those sentences are true. 

Sitting behind the intricately self-assembled camera obscura through which each of us views the world, we are strangers. As strange as a giraffe is to a spider, even more so, because of all that extra human baggage we carry.

No matter how close we may be or think we are to another human being, the fact is that the way we perceive and experience life, the universe and everything is different, possibly radically different, for each of us. Whether family, friend, spouse, lover, colleague, member of the same club, school, country, political party, religion, ethnicity, social class, you name it, we may share the same tastes, opinions, pursuits etc. but whatever factors unite us make no difference, deep down, to the fundamental gap which exists between one individual and another.

Why is this gap so often and so universally a problem? MIND THE GAP! The mind is the gap. The gap between your mind and mine/his/hers/theirs.Why can’t we celebrate the fact that we really are, on the inside, very different from each other? The differences are, after all, what all the great stuff in art, in music, in poetry, in literature, in philosophy etc. etc etc. originates from.

Yes, consensus is essential if anything of value is ever to be achieved on the local and global level. But isn’t it equally essential that within the unity, any unity, we recognise and admit those differences which exist within ourselves and within every other individual? And learn from them?
A lot more could be woven from these strands but I’ll leave it with an image.


Unknown said...

I've always viewed people walking around with different universes as brains. If I don't care for what comes out of their worlds, I don't attempt to hate or despise them, I simply walk away until I find new worlds, other universes: made from the same matter simply spinning in a variety of directions.

Unknown said...

Camera obscura (obscura feminine) a word I just looked up a few days ago not remembering if it had crossed my consciousness before and here it is again, as if you had a view onto my private journal pages. Gap, a clothing store, a cover-up! And off I go again, leaping over mole hills designing mountains! :)

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Leah, no doubt those other universes view yours from their own angles, behind their own cameras obscuras.

Yes: I love the camera obscura, both as a real thing and as a metaphor. Have you ever seen one? It's fascinating. There was a room in the Tate Modern over here where you could actually be inside one and look at the view acrosss the river as it appears on the wall, projected through a tiny pinhole, upside down.

And about Gap: yes, there are lots of molehills and mountains to leap over -I like doing that too. "Mind the gap!" is a recorded announcement played over & over again on some underground (subway) platforms here in London, warning people to be careful not to step into the gap that lies between a train and the platform. So there we have anothermolehill/metaphor: there is danger in gaps!

For instance: some marriages, and other close relationships, break up simply because of the gaps in those individuals' communication with each other and their unwillingness to "mind the gap".

Unknown said...

I am rolling in the gap laughing my head off because I hadn't read your previous post until this am. And if there is a group who train naked, ''tis the poets. Congrats on illustrations to the book. :)