J-Term has arrived, and oh is it wonderful. I’m taking a class on Photoshop, and having a great degree of freedom to experiment with the program and I feel like I’m already learning a ton! Today I’d like to post 2 pieces that I finished up this week, and hopefully hear some of your thoughts about them.
Our first assignment in the class was to use photoshop to combine several images into a surreal composition. Fun, right? Right! Many of you who know me will groan when you realize the direction I started off in with this prompt. The idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy (cue groans) is one I harp on about all the time, and my apologies if you are sick of hearing about it. But please, bear with me (as painful as it must be).
I can get irked when people have a sort of “woe is me” attitude – perhaps better expressed by Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh fame) “It always rains when I go outside”. So these two images kind of grew out of…my critical opinion of such attitudes. But please be aware, this was intended to be lighthearted, so please don’t take offense if you happen to disagree. Rather, share your thoughts, and then we can all learn something together! Anyways, does the humor come through at all in these images? I’m thinking perhaps they have a bit too serious a feeling to them. I do like to think I have a sense of humor. And boy, I hope God does too.
The images are supposed to be a series, the first image of the eight ball crashing into the street is the setup for the joke – “God does not play dice…” (Thank you Einstein for the quote – that’s the extent of the Einstein reference, if that’s the only reason you are here, sorry to disappoint you. But feel free to keep reading!) The punchline in the second image being that he prefers to play billiards instead. I guess what I’m trying to express here is that I don’t feel things happen purely by chance. Our thoughts and attitudes have the power to change the way we perceive the world and its events for better or for worse. We are not helpless.
God doesn’t leave things up to games of chance, rather he prefers games of skill in that there is more of an intentional purpose or plan (I’m not implying fatalism or determinism here, just to clarify). Now, I got to thinking a bit more in depth about these images, extending the metaphor further than I had originally intended and thought it was kind of fun, so I’ll share it. If you have played a decent amount of billiards you are probably aware that really good players are not just thinking about putting one ball into a pocket. Rather, they are considering how they can sink that ball and leave the cue ball in the perfect position to make the next shot. And the same thought process occurs during that next shot as well, etc, on and on until the game is won. Chance is removed as a factor wherever possible. If you play against someone of this caliber, and leave shots to chance you will often find yourself on the losing side. If God were the game playing type, and perhaps he (or she? yeah I went there) is, God would be one of those high caliber, higher purpose sort of players.
Was I thinking about all of that while I was creating these images. Not to that extent, no. But I realized that great storytellers are thinking that far ahead, they are extending the metaphor, planning out shots well into the future. And at the same time they are perceptive and intuitive enough to take advantage of opportunities and capitalize on accidents that occur when they serve the greater goal.
I think this says something about how we should live. If there is some goal you want to achieve, relying on chance and hope alone is probably not an effective solution. But if you plan your shots right you put yourself in a good position to reach that goal. And then you call your shot, with confidence: Eight ball, corner pocket. You need to take action, rather than just daydreaming about how great the end result will be. I’ve found that the journey to the goal is often much more rewarding anyways!