How to Look at a Life
© Copyright 2017 Alessia Savino, Ryerson University.
Humans are one of the most common sites in the world. From the moment you step out your front door and all throughout your day you see people, even if it is just the people you work with, the cashier at your grocery store, the woman sitting next to you on the bus, or the person in front of you in line to get coffee. We pass human after human every day, but do we really stop to pay attention to the life we are actually seeing, or do we just see the body of a human and look past them?
When we see people in our everyday life we usually only see theme physically, however we do not stop to actually pay attention to who they are. You can tell a lot about someone’s life from simply looking at them. Are they young or old, do they have any scars, birthmarks, or tattoos? Are they wearing business attire or gym clothes? Are they dressed like a hipster or dressed chic? Are they a teacher or a banker? What kind of music are they listening to? Answering any of these questions can already further you into thinking more about their life and seeing them as a person, rather then just another body occupying the same subway cart as you.
For example, if they have a tattoo, is it a name or a quote? It could be a name, maybe the name Lily. Seeing the name gets you thinking about who Lily is and why this person has their name tattooed on their body. Lily could be their Mom, their daughter, or their best friend. Maybe it is their mom. Then maybe you think about why they have this tattoo, like maybe their mom passed or she was sick. Then maybe you think about why Lily was so special to them, the more you think the further the story goes. The purpose of this is to get you thinking about someone else’s life just as you do your own. Rather then just seeing them as another person you pass everyday you start to realize that they have a family, a job, friends, interests and hobbies just like you do. It can be easy to forget this because we get so caught up in our lives and how important they are that we forget that other people have lives that are just as important as ours.
It sounds sad to say but hearing about the death of a person really gets you wondering about their life. Like when a death gets announced on the news we get a brief synopsis of their life. We hear what job they had, what family they leave behind and what their interests were. We see their life take place in front of us briefly. We forget that we do not have to have people die for us to learn about them or for us to see them for who they are.
We see person after person every day, but we are too caught up in what we have going on in our own lives to stop and think about who they are and what they do, or what they are interested in. We forget that everyone has a story and we see just a body rather than seeing a life or a soul.
Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.
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