"By acknowledging and owning the limits of our own subjectivity, our soul remains open and limber, available for growth, development and discovery. But when objectivity is taken to the extreme, it erodes both our humanity and our humility." - Shane Hipps, Flickering PixelsMaybe it's that we just got back from a week of vacation within which we soaked up new experiences and ventured out into never-been-tried outings (in spite of being in the same spot we have vacationed every summer for a decade - thank you for that constancy, JoCanMax and Harry). Maybe it's that we are still in the stage of parenting children who are themselves fresh-from-the-market and find so much wonder in so many things. Maybe it is the change of scenery, of smells, of tastes, of locale that time away from the everyday faces and places brings. Whatever the culprit, growth and development and discovery was ours. Souls were opened a little further and limbered up into a more flexible posture. Vacation can be an education in limiting our subjectivity; dropping our guard and pieces of our biases and spaces in our agendas. And if we vacate well, perhaps we bring the awareness of our everyday subjectivity home with us and tweak our real world.
But then, too, there was that Thing in a week of vacation and relaxation that shows me where becoming objective to extremes erodes away at my humanity: "celeb-reality TV". I like it, at least enough to get sucked into it in some measurable amount. And I know we all know it's contrived and an alteration of reality rather than reality itself. But maybe that's just it: something peddled as reality mixed, plated, and served up within a culture where one of the highest virtues is open-mindedness - staying completely objective - and where our favorite past time is peeking into the lives of the rich and famous.
Do I want to be me or a copy of a beautiful, sexy, and successful Kardashian? Are Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney somehow helping set my moral compass? Do we just keep giving Paris a free pass at engagements and breakups and a platform on which to display them? Am I even still allowed to feel compassion and sadness for a girl who is 16 And Pregnant, knowing that she cannot know for possibly even decades to come the fullness of the difficulties her life will now hold not only because of mothering so young but also because of splashing it all over television and magazines? Can I shake my head in disbelief at devastated lives on Celebrity Rehab; people who have gained the whole world but lost their souls?
There are limits to my subjectivity. At least there better be. Limber is definitely what I need to be. But there had also better be limits to my objectivity. Status or celebrity, fortune or fame - or the complete lack thereof - should not buy anyone a free pass, nor a position chained to stocks in the public square. My subjectivity must make me love people extravagantly, lavishly, excessively - even celebrity-people. But my objectivity must make me see through face value - even if the face is the spokesperson for Proactiv and has it's own on-call makeup artist - to the heart of a person. My subjectivity and my objectivity must march out together waving a banner that God.loves.you. All the "you"s, and He wants so much more for you.
I'm not preaching. And I don't even know where I'm headed with all this. Perhaps I'm just stretching, growing, limbering up. And trying to remember humanity and humility in the exercise.
"Do we watch reality television for precious insight into the human condition? Please. We watch for those awkward scenes that make us feel a smidge better about our own little unfilmed lives." - Entertainment Weekly*I love how differently people can read or see the same thing. Check here and here for some other impressions of this week's quote. So cool how different the perspectives are.