Monuments of Parallax - 2013

A quick explanation of this image.

par·al·lax [par-uh-laks]

noun - the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.

As mobile individuals, we are able to move about and look at things from different perspectives. Likewise, as we move through life - getting older with greater experience - we see things from different viewpoints and we update our opinions and beliefs accordingly. We may easily just "change our mind" about some things but in other matters we may have to agonise for days, months or years before "one day" realising that we've moved our position. And there are other times when we will fight to hold on to a viewpoint regardless.

Whatever the outcome, left behind there will be the "Monuments of Parallax". These could take the form of physical objects, both good and bad (and ugly). Examples in various forms could be an impractical sports car from a carefree youth, lovingly stored in the garage; some strange clothing or weird apparatus - the remains of a career change, or the house and/or its location - that was once necessary etc. etc. But there are probably even bigger, invisible "Monuments" located only in our minds, these are the memories we have, forged at the moment of the impact of some change or new knowledge - and they are monuments just as powerful as any obelisk.

Indeed, I now "see" the world collectively in the same way. It forms into groups, societies and civilizations as it changes and progresses. This leads to all the building, demolishing, then re-establishing and defending of both the physical constructions and constitutional beliefs - it is the human condition and the cycle of life. The changes may come about by peaceful evolution but sometimes they are only possible by violent revolution! And so there are both physical and metaphysical "Monuments of Parallax" in our midst that date back to the dawn of time. ........ 15.12.13

A fuller explanation of this image follows here should you be interested, as I felt there was more to be said about parallax. You will see the difficulty I have in being succinct, once the concept opens up. And of course as always, it is only a personal view!

Every single person who has ever stood on this planet experiences life from their own unique position in time and space. Unknowable, unimaginable causes and effects have either gifted, programmed or educated each and every one of us with an unparalleled interest in our world. However, as we grow and are influenced by everything we experience, our "views" change too. Sometimes we have to abandon our older, outmoded beliefs and embrace new "truths" that we've been exposed to.

And so, importantly to me is the observing and understanding of how and why my own views have changed in the world I saw and remember as a boy: as a youth: as a younger man! Some of the influences on me through life (so far) have been very big (monumental) - be them real or imaginary, restricting or liberating and I have seen just how much they have dominated and then diminished with the parallax of time (notwithstanding the physical and geographical parallax).

As a schoolboy I was brought up C. of E. as the vast majority of people in England were in those days, I attended a small village school and I had been a choirboy for 8 or 9 years too, so I had been nurtured in - and exposed to - a pretty standard society of 1950's and 60's England.

At the beginning of my secondary education - and I should say that this was an "All Boys Grammar School" which took boarders from all parts of the "Old Empire" - I met boys for the first time with vastly different views to mine: I was a day scholar from a local village! I was also introduced to subjects new to me, one of them being "physics". I loved this new found view of looking at the world and remember being captivated by some of the first experiments that we did. One of them, finding the point of no parallax - using needles and a mirror (displacement or difference in apparent position), particularly enthralled me - and I think this image has probably been formulating "inside me" since that time!

I soon reasoned that this "parallax" was everywhere - obvious, but I'd never heard it explained before - and I could now see that it was what accounted for all sorts of misunderstandings and arguments: a recurring one was why we had the inevitable friction on the football pitch about someone being "off-side". That was all about 50 years ago but as I grew a little older, my observations and burgeoning understanding of my individual view or parallax showed me that just as a shift in the physical viewpoint of the observer can affect what is observed - so can time, (pretty obvious really). I was certainly changing my mind/opinions on all sorts of things at that age (and still am). It's worth mentioning here that a certain "parallax" of views led me to abandon school not many years later!

By the early 70's, not long after The Beatles (probably my biggest creative influence) had come back from India with this "new" discovery "Transcendental Meditation" - a way of finding peace and happiness - my brother and I thought we'd give it a try and we enlisted (if that's the right word) on the course. That didn't last long - I wasn't ready for more received knowledge!

It was very soon after this that I met my soul mate and partner. And because this happened when it did - after some years of aimless romantic wanderings in the wilderness - it was a stunning new dynamic. The viewpoint and opinion of someone who became so special to me, immediately gave my life another shift of parallax.

Now I felt bolstered and ready for another foray into organised education (suffice to say that it was very worthwhile but for very different reasons to what I'd originally perceived). I'm not sure how I managed to finish the course really. Having finished however, I briefly spent time "teaching" art and craft to mentally handicapped adults and I have to admit that they taught me more than I taught them. At this same time I spent two years involved with a school of philosophy (again it didn't end happily - more received knowledge) and all I can say about this period is that it led to the next big skip for me and "the penny dropped"......... maybe; just maybe.........all these established bodies disseminating their "views, doctrines, philosophies, religions, politics and even science (the discipline of rational experiment and "proof") are all just instances of parallax! Once I'd had that thought I have never been able to un-think it, so where was the answer, resolution, comfort or "truth" I was seeking? (The image on the front page of my website from 11 years ago has a similar theme).

It would seem that establishment parallax has been around for as long as we've had history and just in my own lifetime the views on capital punishment, ban the bomb, marriage and divorce, nationality, race, religion, gay liberation, attitudes to sex in general and sex/age/gender/disabled equalities would be almost unrecognisable to the society I was born into. I used to muse over the fact that every single person on this planet sees life from their own unique viewpoint, and wonder how all these disparate views can be accommodated and rationalised? (which seems to be the trap that a lot of the organised "bodies" mentioned previously fall into) as if by everyone seeing, thinking and believing the same, we would have harmony? But now I believe that it is because of our individual points of parallax that we are in harmony. In simple terms - back to the experiment in physics, finding the point of no parallax - it's a virtual illusion!

Indeed, some 50 years on; I also believe that this diversity drives the very growth, progress and regeneration of life. It would be good if we could just agree to disagree and build the beautiful monuments. But alas, in reality we need to accept that there will be many more of the bad and ugly "Monuments of Parallax" - but move on with the new knowledge derived from them!......6.3.14

Something weird! Today, 10.3.14 four days after writing this piece the results of the North Korean election have been made public - Kim Jong-un is elected to the highest office....with a 100% turnout and 100% in favour....So maybe there is such a position, where there is no parallax!

To be continued.........

............."Monuments of Parallax" - some of the detail at 100% resolution