Speaking Stones

Why the N.N. Rimzon's Speaking Stones? According to the reviews it's about the problems in India, but I couldn't stop thinking it also could be about individuals. What images would you put before you, anchored under stones so they won't go away, that would make you grieve, to fall into the same position before them and put your hands over your face to hide from them? What deep fears do each of us have that exposed will cause us to break down?

On the other side of the discussion I'm reading Daniel Gilbert's new book "Stumbling on Happiness." One of his fundamental arguments is that happiness is an illusion we create and doesn't reflect reality, only our perception of it. In it he states from his research that clinicially depressed people are often immune to the illusion of happiness, although they have other illusions about reality. It's one of those questions, if it's an illusion from either perspective, where is reality, and is reality just something we see and revise for whatever perspective we want or need, and we can't distingush our own perspective from reality?

So, what is reality anyway? When I worked for the USGS, I was doing field work on the North Fork of the Toutle River in May-June 1980 trying to determine the ashflow from the eruption of Mount St. Helens, and I got my first ride in a helicopter to the crater. I sat in the middle rear seat observing as much as I could on the trip up the river to the crater. The two people on both sides were franatically taking pictures with their cameras. When we got back from the work, they both said, "I hope they (photos) turn out because I was too busy taking pictures to see anything."

So whose memory is real, mine in memory, or theirs with photos they can't remember what they saw? Do I remember my trip? Absolutely, the landscape was so unreal that even 25+ years later the images are still fairly clear. The details may be lost but the impression is forever with me. Or it's just my reality of the day and the trip. And that's enough for me. I see the reports of our work in the publications, the images showing the scenes, and it all comes back in an instant. So which is better, photos or memory?

[Top] [Columns] [Home]

Web Updates
Image Copyrights
Browser Optimization
WSR V2.8, January 2013