What should not be

What should not be

Something I have learnt the hard way in the last few months: Never give yourself 100% to another person if that person needs help. If you do, the other person will soon start to want more and more help from yourself. Being at 100% from the beginning won’t allow you to give more and, in that moment, s/he will reproach you that instead of thanking for everything else you did (even if you did a lot expecting nothing in return, just for free). Instead of that just involve yourself as little as possible and nothing more. They will thank you exactly the same as if you had gone 100%, and when they ask you for more it will be easy to give just a tiny bit more to keep them happy.

On the long run, it doesn’t matter how much you did, just the last step matters. It’s a really sad truth, but it’s the way most people act.

Nothing matters except how much you can satisfy the expectations they have built about you (their expectations, created in the fantasy world of their minds). You effort or ability to be able to reach those expectations, even partially, are not important. If you are not able to reach the “final line” it doesn’t matter how much you helped or how hard you had to work to help. If you don’t give everything they expect to you, they will treat you as if you had given nothing at all.

In films effort is always rewarded and doing the right thing is worth at the end. I guess that’s why films exist: they comfort us and offer a different outcome to that of real life. Instead of a tug of war where everybody tries to get as much as possible from us giving as less as possible, they show us a fair ending where karma exist and everyone gets what they deserve. But in real life effort usually doesn’t compensate and look and luck are the only forces moving around.

At the end, we all carry the “evil” within us, even when we consider ourselves in the “good team”. If you look at yourself and think you are a good person, probably you are just looking towards the side that suits you.

Colophon

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“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”. Japanese proverb.

 

So, this is how my little journey into my mind ends. Perhaps it wasn’t deep enough to be memorable. Perhaps it wasn’t long enough to be taken seriously. But if you take some time to think on each text, to see each picture, to see the whole picture filling the gaps in every text, and also between texts, you will find some richness that sometimes we forget.

It was a lovely journey through a beautiful land. And it was also a lovely journey to my mind, to my thoughts in the last few months. Some thoughts that we don’t consider important until a bad moment arise, in the same way that we don’t stop to think about the air and breathing until we discover, usually panicking, that we cannot breathe.

This is my tiny contribution for a journey that, sadly, every human being has to do in their lives from time to time (sometimes even more than once). I hope that you have enjoyed it and it helped you to understand, comprehend and see the beauty in a situation usually considered as ugly and unpleasant. Or at least to understand better the people who are passing through a time of suffering.

Even in the worst situations we can find something beautiful. Even in the worst situations we can learn and get something good from them. Usually we are not able to change the bad things, not even help the ones suffering around us (or ourselves). But, if we have to go all the way through it, at least let’s get some profit from it. If we cannot avoid it, at least make it worth.

We can always end a day a little bit wiser than we started it.

Mirage II

Untitled-1Mirage II

“I spoke about wings, you just flew. I wondered I guessed and I tried, you just knew. I sighted, but you swooned”. The whole of the moon – The Waterboys.

 

If we accept the idea that we are our personalities, that we are the software running in our brains, my favorite question is: How many “me” exist?

We can start assuming that there is only one: the one I know and dictate the way I act every day.

But when we talk to people (or even if they “know” us without talking) they also get the idea of “ourselves” into their brain, into their memory.

But that “me” that inhabits into their minds is incomplete by definition. Only I can see my true self (and not even always you can be completely aware of the whole of it). The rest of the people are forming an image of the person who you are based on incomplete information (and sometimes even wrong information). They are building a copy of your personality in their minds that is, almost for sure, different from the one you really are. And afterwards, when people try to analyze any situation trough that personality (e.g. trying to infer what you mean from something that you say), those differences would probably lead to different interpretations. We might believe that we are funny just because we know everything we say is a joke, and still be considered stupid or grouchy by others. And for those people that other personality is as real as our own to ourselves.

Seen this way there is not just one copy of what we call ourselves. Every person who knows us, every family member, friend, acquaintance or even a random person who we met briefly, has their own and personalized copy of ourselves. A different “person”, created using an incomplete pattern, based on the real one we are.

But, when we disappear, when we die and our corpses rot… Can we really say that we are gone as long as there are other copies of ourselves populating other minds? Are Napoleon and Elvis gone if we still know who they are, how they thought? In that way, our personality is a kind of life that spreads like a virus. It starts as a single specimen, inhabiting an empty brain, and it develops influenced by its environment. But as long as the personality is exposed to other brains, it “infects” them, residing for as long as the memories last. An altered copy of ourselves, in a way like other alive beings mutate. And those new hosts can spread even more that personality to new individuals, breaking the barrier of the individual and converting our personality into a species, where every person will have a different individual belonging to it, as Elvis is different for every one of us, even if we never met him in person.

 

Place: Sant Vicens de Torelló

Speed: 1/100 s.

Aperture: f/6.0

ISO: 640

Focal: 105 mm

Model: Alba Pe [FB] [IG]

Mirage I

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“God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of”. Brilliant disguise – Bruce Springsteen.

 

Sometimes I ask myself: who am I? Does my body form part of what I am, as a person? Or does only my mind take part on what I call “myself”? This raises interesting questions about me. For example: If I could design a robot with an empty brain, would I be able to transfer the person I am and keep living on it? Would it be the same being as I am right now, or it would be another copy, someone independent? Would the robot act as myself, or sooner or later would diverge from the actions and thoughts I’d have taken, limited by its own hardware. Is our consciousness limited by the hardware (our brain), or we are just software and the physical part only provides life support but nothing more?

I’ve always defended the thesis that we are only our memories. What you do today, what you think, the person who you really are, is based on the things that we remember from our past. The good and bad experiences formed our personalities. If we change our memories all the erased past would simply disappear and to our perspective it’d be like it has never happened. Even the new memories would seem as real to us as any other memento. I always see this using the metaphor of time travel: If someone just traveled to the past and changed it in a way that a new “alternative future” formed, from our perspective only the alternative timeline would have existed, and we would never know or be aware of the original one. Only the time traveler would know both of them, and changing the timeline many times would be transparent to the rest of its inhabitants. Something similar happens with our memories, we trust them because we know they cannot be changed arbitrarily but, if it was possible, how could we distinguish between the original and real memories and the altered ones?

Even more… Can we say that we would be the same person as we are if we just lost our memories, if only we had the new memories from that moment on and not any other background information? I guess some amnesic people could solve that question for me.

From this perspective, what we are seems quite fragile: Just a piece of information coded chemically in less than 2 kilos of organic matter (and half of it is just water). And if that information is lost: an accident, an illness, or just by chance… Are we lost? Would the result be the appearing of another different person, independently of our DNA? Or we would still be the same person, and our personality and memories don’t mean too much in the process?

I believe that a person is not a body, but a personality. The accumulation of decisions you take and the actions performed. We are our memories and our choices, the way we relate with everyone else and the “algorithm” that decides what we will do, how we reason, in every specific situation.

In the picture: a graffiti painted in the walls of an abandoned building, reflecting in the water of a puddle in an oneiric way. The way the picture is taken and processed distracts the mind for a few seconds while it tries to interpret the reality shown. This is my way of representing the fragility of the mind, and how who we are is extremely dependent of a fragile and voluble organ which does its best to process all the information around us, but not always in the correct way.

 

Place: Sant Vicens de Torelló

Speed: 1/80 s.

Aperture: f/6.0

ISO: 800

Focal: 105 mm

Multiple personalities

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“But she crawls under your skin, you’re never quite the same, and now I know she’s got something you just can’t trust”. Invisible touch – Genesis.

 

It is a clear fact that a smile is one of the purest signs of happiness. A smile shows that everything is all right, that the world around the smiling person is safe. Who wouldn’t love to see their family and friends smile?

But a smile can hide many things. So many people suffering don’t express it publicly. Weakness is a taboo topic in society nowadays, as it has been for all our history. Only the strongest people prosper and get the life of their dreams. The weak ones get consumed in the process until they submit to somebody better. And in this fantasy that society has made we hide ourselves, showing our stronger face like a mask that covers who we really are, never showing our weaknesses so nobody can use them against us.

But what about the action of using the smile to protect the people who care about us? Because sometimes you wear the smile not to avoid getting hurt, but to make other people happy, even if you are not. Pain is not accepted in society. You must always fight against it. It’s unpleasant to see it, to be with someone who is suffering it. So we try to force the suffering person to smile, negating the obvious pain, so we can feel good near him or her. Even if that is the least thing that the suffering person needs.

You end looking at someone and not seeing the real human being behind, just the mask. And the borders of the mask fade, mixing with reality, not knowing anymore what is the real person and what is just the tale invented to keep the normality in their bounds.

So, next time you see an estranger smiling stop for a second and think: Is s/he really happy? Does it look like a sincere smile? Or it is just another mask, covering a harsh mountain of problems, deceptions, pain and suffering this person is suffering in its inside?

And… what about the next time you see a close friend smiling?

In a perfect world, a smile should never have to be used as armor against the people who care about you…

 

Place: Bosc de Can Ginebreda

Speed: 1/125 s.

Aperture: f/4.0

ISO: 100

Focal: 105 mm

Sunrise

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“There’s a new day dawning as a cold rain falls and now’s the time to walk alone”. Man in the rain – Mike Oldfield.

 

When you are in peace with yourself you discover that being alone is not lonely anymore. That you don’t need anybody else to be happy. That the sun looks brighter in the morning, and the stones on the buildings and floor are not as cold as you though. That you don’t need anyone around to make your whole world work.

The world shows the same colors as always did, but completely different. The red will still be red, but warmer. Oranges prettier. Greens purer. And the blues… the blues just disappear to become songs from another era.

A new horizon full of possibilities. And empty canvas waiting to be painted. A thick book of white pages designed to be filled with whatever you want to write. You become the author of your own life, and only one person has the power to decide what will be done afterwards: yourself.

And the place where you began is still there, but is not the same place anymore (and never will).

And the people who destroyed you are still there, but won’t have any power over you from now on (and never will).

And you got broken to pieces, and rebuilt again in the process. You are not the same person anymore (and never will).

But the new you… It is all you need to be.

 

Place: Tavertet

Speed: 1/125 s.

Aperture: f/5.0

ISO: 250

Focal: 58 mm

Model: Alba Pe [FB] [IG]

Rebirth

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“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas”. You raise me up – Brian Kennedy.

 

And in the less expected moment something magical happens. Perhaps you meet a new person (a future friend, or partner), a new hobby, something you love doing or making… You don’t know it just in that moment but your life from that instant on is going to change drastically. But in that moment, the only things you see are your feelings. All the bad mood, all the depression and all the problems in your mind halt for a few hours. It’s hours after that you realize that it was the first time in months you felt good, even if you didn’t notice it during that period.

And from that moment on everything is different. Every day will become better than the one before, and the true yourself will appear more and more often. The strength you thought you lost to never return appears even stronger. Motivation flows through your veins as a warming sensation and the problems that the day before seemed impregnable are now a new challenge to conquer.

When you turn your sight back you see how important that moment was, the seed of a new beginning, of a new you. And all the clouds vanish, slowly in the horizon, to become no more than a memory for the rest of your life.

 

Place: Bosc de Can Ginebreda

Speed: 1/200 s.

Aperture: f/4.0

ISO: 100

Focal: 105 mm