Friday, July 20, 2012

The Last Pictures by Trevor Paglen: Impermanence and Mindfulness

This morning I came across a project by Trevor Paglen. He will launch 100 images into space to serve as a lasting reminder of who were were when all that we are is gone. I'm looking forward to seeing the images--for both what is included as well as what is not. The answers to both reveal so much rich information about any given person's understandings of the world.

The project, of course, isn't really about leaving a memory of who we were. There is no permanence. While perhaps the satellite that carries these images as payload will be aloft for "billions of years," those billions of years will come to and end. The structures of the machinery will decay. The images will degrade. The light of the sun will end. All that is will some day no longer be. At least that which is, will no longer be, something that is a form that can be recognized as something that was once us.

Despite this truth of impermanence, we all struggle, in our own ways, to leave behind a memory. We wish to make some statement that we too were here. We wish to extend ourselves into the no-thing-ness and evade impermanence. We seek to quell our fears about non-existence.

Imagine for a moment a life without these fears. Imagine a life built around existence rather than fear of non-existence. I am--I am here--right now. Not--I was there. I was. Remember what I was.

So much of my work as a psychologist is about finding and recognizing those complicated moments in time where patient and therapist breathe into an experience and connect with the act of being present in a moment. It is a rare place to find--one in which we aren't what we did, we aren't what we will do, we aren't what we are doing. We are being.

Almost there. Take out the we are.

Being. That's it. That's all there is. Being. Not being now. or being later, or being before.

Just being.


Trevor Paglen - The Last Pictures from Creative Time on Vimeo.

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