Sunday, February 06, 2011

on being quick to observe

a few weeks ago i was in the lab reading a paper on facial parametrics and listening to nine inch nails.  and i was thinking about that.  not about facial parametrics; those are essential a superconcept of blend shapes.  i was thinking about how i was listening to nine inch nails.

for those of you who aren't familiar with them, i associate their/his music with harsh industrial sounds, dark heavy beats, and intense and often harsh and angry lyrics.  it's possible that tim would argue against that, but that's the connotation i have of them.  and i think it's safe to suggest that that is the general conception that comes when you say you're listening to nine inch nails.

the thing is, that wasn't at all what i was listening to.  i wouldn't buy any of those albums.  what i was listening to was ghosts I-IV, an album of instrumental and ambient music that would probably be passable as good sunday music.

but that had me thinking: are there other things in my life that would give a false representation of who i am if known only in part?  yeah, a lot, actually.  showing random interests on my profile, facebook noted that i like "a clockwork orange" and showed a picture of the movie poster.  the fact is that i enjoy the book and have no desire or interest in anyway of watching the movie.  i love the beastie boys; anyone who's been around me in the past year has picked up on that.  but i don't like vulgarities and so i got into them when i realized that amazon also sold their cds in "clean" versions.  and, perhaps most notably, a glance at my movie collection will reveal a wide variety of movies, including some rough ones like watchmen, the wrestler, or babel.  but i have those either in edited dvds or i watch them through my clearplay.  i don't watch R-rated movies and i'm somewhat selective about which pg-13 movies i'll go to as well.

it also got me thinking: are there other things about me and who i am that people falsely think or presume because of making their decision based on incomplete data?  probably.  and that's unfortunate, but i can only do what i can to present myself as honestly as i am.  oddly, i suppose that sometimes honesty can be misinterpreted if people don't think you're being honest, but that's more philosophical than i feel like getting right now.
one of the themes of solaris (either version) is that the people we know are really only what we know about them.  if i am greater or less than what someone knows about me, that is beside the point; "me" to them is solely the compilation of whatever they've gathered about me.  hopefully it's at least partially right.

this could become a post about being careful how we present ourselves, but my thinking caused me to look at it in the other direction: how am i judging the people i meet?

we're quick to say "don't judge" and that is good advice, but whether we saying "judging" or "evaluating" or "forming opinions", we are constantly revising our understanding of who people are as we learn more about them.  that's ok, natural, and necessary.  we cannot know how to interact with a person unless we know things about them, and we will respond to people based on their experiences and personalities.  which is why the revision "judge not unrighteously" is the better way to aim for.
and just as i would want someone to get to know me a little more than just what's on my ipod or my dvd shelves, it's caused to think a bit more as i'm getting to know people around here.

i think this post came out a little "heavier" than i had intended, but what the heck.


Em said...

I really think that "not judging" is part of what we're here to figure out how to do. the glimpses I get of it are so incredibly freeing. Don't assume you know anything about anybody. Just assume that God does, and that He loves them anyway, so you should too. (How's that for a gross oversimplification?)

As for facial parametrics - there was a PBS documentary about the face that was fascinating.... (The Human Face - 2001) Check it.

The Former 786 said...

I think most people judge NIN based on Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, which seems fair enough. I actually like some songs of theirs, but others really, really bother me. Also, I found out today that my understanding of what the band's name meant was completely false. Huh. Go figure.

Also, I have to admit that I am very conscious of what people think of me based on the music I listen to and the movies I like. One of my favorite movies is, surprise, Shaun of the Dead, but I've never watched it unedited. And every time I rate a movie on Facebook, I want to put a little note there saying that I watched it on ClearPlay. However, I also don't want to exclusively say that, either, because it may come off as self-righteous and/or start a debate on the "censorship of art."


Anyway, I think your post took a good twist. I will be more careful when basing my opinion of others on what they like/do. Unless they're Twi-hards because that's just wrong!

The Former 786 said...

Oh, one more thing, is the book of A Clockwork Orange really that good? I'm interested in the idea, but I've seen enough of the movie to know I wouldn't like watching it.