Thursday, June 12, 2014


Life is to be enjoyed in the moment, not photographed. I'm always struck by pictures of some amazing occurence or tragic disaster---what I see in the pictures are dozens of hands held up, grasping I-phones. Few people are actually watching what is happening.

For heaven's sake, people, you are THERE at an important moment. Watch it, absorb it. Or is it more important to you to take pictures, post them, and then brag that you were there? Are you all so insecure that you need affirmation from others---even strangers---to validate yourself?

Many years ago, when my then-husband was a soldier in Germany, I joined him there and we travelled extensively. When we returned after two years and showed our photo album, some people said, "Are those all the pictures you took?" Our reply? "We were too busy LOOKING to take many pictures."

I sometimes think that this need for public affirmation is tied to the so-called "self-esteem" movement (trophies for everyone, and all that crap). In my day, self-esteem was earned! Someone said, "This is what I want you to do. This is how you do it. I know you can do it." And we did it. And felt genuine self-esteem.

I wonder if today's young people, constantly told they are wonderful even when they've done nothing, secretly suspect, in a clandestine corner of their minds, that they really haven't accomplished anything and thus aren't really that special. Maybe that's part of what fuels their almost desperate need for public self-affirmation. Feedback from others substituting for a grounded sense of self.

But back to the I-phones. It's not just the photos, it's the constant texting and e-mails, while life is going on around you. Open your eyes! There's so much to see, so much to absorb. Instead, you isolate yourself in a private world. Sometimes, on the subway on my way to work, I want to smack a mother with kids. While they are restless, bored, unhappy, she's busy texting or reading on her gadget. I want to tell her, "Talk to your kids! Amuse them. Enjoy them, before they grow up to be strangers."  I've even seen them so busy on their I-phones that they let their kids---as little as 3---go on the escalator or through a revolving store door without watching them. (I've rescued more than one kid who nearly got mashed by a revolving door.)

I-phones are good in their place. But when they take over your life and crowd out every other human experience, they are a menace!


  1. I agree! Being bedridden for 8 months, only going out of the house to the doctor, I truly missed seeing the world. I would have given a great deal to see more than the four walls and the Travel Channel. Seeing life is much more important than recording it.

  2. Hope you are getting better, dear! Hugs to you.

  3. I should note that a couple of my smart-alecky kids congratulated me on the launch of the blog in e-mails . . . to which they amended "Sent from my iPhone!" I gave birth to them------I guess I can't disown them!

  4. I always say, "You can photograph life or you can live it instead". I have a friend with very little photos from his childhood - just one paltry album. Now I have come to understand that his parents, nee his complete family life, was about living - not photographing. And this family had much to be proud of and show off. His parents are gone now and all his "photos" are in his head. He brings his family alive to me with his stories. It's only then that I ask, "Don't you have any pictures of that?" He doesn't need them. They LIVED. Sylvia, do me a favor: keep talking!