DINK #211 Can You See What I’m Saying?

Posted on : 18-10-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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Our Universal Human Rights Teacher played the TED video of Chris Jordan who is an artist who translates statistics into visual language to be felt (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/chris_jordan_pictures_some_shocking_stats.html).  Very impressive. He did things like make a humongous art piece out of 4 million plastic cups taking us right up to the picture so that we could see that what we were looking at were plastic cups and then zoomed it way out so that we could see that there were indeed 4 million plastic cups.  The statistic (please forgive me if my recollection is off) was something like 4 million plastic cups are used once and not recycled by passengers on airlines every six hours.

The idea is that we humans can only wrap our minds around so much math to explain statistics like there are 32 thousand breast augmentations per month in the u.s.  and 400,000 people die of cigarette smoking every year and the U.S. has the largest population of people in prison in the world with 1 out of 4 people in prison.  There’s all kinds of psychology behind the idea that we lose our ability to empathize about a problem when we start talking in terms of what happens to thousands of people.  Chris Jordan used the comparison of 1100 people die of cigarette smoking in America every day and the 1366 people who died in 9/11 and that we (Americans) talk a whole lot about 1366 people dying on 9/11 but we don’t talk about over 443,000 Americans dying from cigarette smoking each year (http://www.inforesearchlab.com/smokingdeaths.chtml). Stats like that makes our brains “tilt”.

Chris believes that we in the U.S. are anesthetized to feeling and I can certainly understand his point of view.  So if we want people to be able to “see” and therefore “hear” what we are saying we’re going to have to come up with ways of communicating that help people visualize what we are saying.  I’m just wondering if you strip it all down to us as individuals, how much our numbness affects our day-to-day relationships with each other.

One of my favorite sci-fi movies is “The Fifth Element” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119116/) When the cosmic element, Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) is sent to save Earth from evil, she spends some time watching video clips of all the history, art, news, shows–everything that has ever been recorded by humanity–to catch up with what is going on today with humans over the thousand year period that she has been inert (?).  I think that a good portion of us humans can process information much easier visually rather than through hearing although I know some learn by hearing better and some learn by doing better and some have to have a combo of all three. Anyway, the point is that wouldn’t humans being able to feel empathy for the world around them help them to help others and therefore make this world a better place rather than us being all frozen up inside of our brains scrambling about and operating almost on a reptilian brain level to get our needs met?

Oy vey, this is what happens to me when I wait until way to late in the evening to write my blogs!!   Welcome to my inner sanctum!  Conversation, ideas and input gratefully received!!  Picture a happy beating heart…..

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