Monday, December 24, 2018

Passing judgment through glass from afar

Windows over the strip
Las Vegas, NV
November 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I promise I'm not a voyeur, but I will admit to standing on sidewalks every once in a while and looking up at the buildings around me. I don't stare inside, of course, but I do wonder about the people who live, largely unseen, on the other side of the glass.

The math is easy to understand: Every window here - in this case, a Las Vegas highrise - contains a life, a story, or multiples of same. To each person who lives in each of these boxes in the sky, their story is their world, their everything. Nothing matters more to them, even if it matters not at all to the strangers outside.

We tend to think our own lives are all-defining, and they certainly are. But only to us. Even if this is an accepted fact of modern human existence, I find that differential, the all-or-nothing-ness of it all, somewhat jarring. Relatively speaking, we are a selfish species.

It's an especially meaningful observation in this social media-driven age, where we see so many examples of people judging others, making snap conclusions about what complete strangers should or should not have done, then sharing their views with the rest of the planet.

I guess it's easy to stand on figurative sidewalks and stand in judgment of complete strangers from hundreds of metres away. Or thumb-type wisdom into a Facebook comment thread without ever having met the individuals in question.

But even if fate gave you the ability to visit every unit in this photo and have tea with every person there, you still wouldn't know what really makes them tick, and still wouldn't have the right to judge. We may never know what goes on behind thick panes of glass, but we should always have the foresight to recognize reality is very different than what it might look like from way over here.

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1 comment:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Carmi, has Blogger changed up the comment format? I know u edit the comments before publishing them but on the public sites I notice my identity comes up as 'google account' and not my screen name..
on yours it shows my screen name as well as google acct in parentheses..
it shows up that way on my phone as well