After being in this class and thinking about vision all the time for an entire semester, I regard our society as highly ocularcentric. Before January, I didn’t know what that word was or meant even though my daily routines and actions were centered around this concept. It is going to almost be distracting now to have so many ideas about vision floating around in my head because I’m going to be constantly thinking about how visual information is influencing myself and other humans on a day to day basis.
I enjoyed this class setting more than others because I was given a chance to expand and reflect on one topic and strengthen my ideas. I think this was helpful because looking back on my unit one essay compared to my unit three essay was incredible. Not just the structure of and mechanics of my writing has improved but my ideas evolved into a more profound understanding of the subject of ocularcentrism.
After reading multiple sources assigned in class and finding a couple of my own, writing three papers, and doing a multi-media project/presentation, I can confidently say that we are highly ocularcentric as a culture. I think that the idea of seeing is believing can be applied to quite literally any category of life. Vision and our perception of the world around us is one of if not the most important aspect of our evolution as a species into what we are today. After being exposed to these key terms and ideas about our ocular world, I can see myself relating more and more in future experiences to what I’ve learned in this class. I can also so see myself furthering the discussion of topics in class to other areas of life.
Above is a link to a Prezi, digital representation of the transformation and evolution of beauty, specifically analyzed in social media. The last two images represent the difference between someone posting a natural, make-up free picture on Instagram vs. a highly-edited, cosmetic post on Instagram.
What is significant about analyzing these two different pictures and two different examples of social media posts is because there is a distortion or reality or visual manipulation. We live in such an ocularcentric society, in that, we received so much visual information that we end up believing. It is evident that we are ocularcentrist especially in the upcoming generation because we are dominated by our devices (cell phones, computers etc.) Since we are so dependent on these forms of visual information, we will believe or trust what we see. This gives the users of social media agency over how they want to be perceived by the rest of society based on what they post.
What I emphasize with the before and after pictures of this young women and cosmetics and digital editing is the consequences that come from this form of visual manipulation. If a woman feels inclined to not just transform herself with cosmetics, but go so far to further distort her image with makeup apps, it says something about standards. Specifically, this woman is not only concerned with the social standard of beauty that has previously been set but she is responding to it.
conclusively, I believe that social media users do use social media to portray their “ideal” view of themselves but more importantly is the “why”. They act in these ways in response to societal expectations, social standards and trends that have been previously set and define a given community. This spans over a multitude of topics, I chose cosmetics as one of the examples to expand on.
“The mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” –Oscar Wilde
I think what Oscar Wilde is trying to get at with this quote is that when humans think about mysteries we think about what we have yet to discover when there is so much more to learn about what we already know and see before us.
I think this is an interesting perspective because it shows that humans as a species in a way thinks they can explain every thing that they can see which is inherently wrong. I think that we over simplify the world around us and don’t see the “simple” things from more complex angles.
I think it is interesting that Wild suggests that there is a mystery of the world and by saying this, hints at the facts that we haven’t solved the mystery and since we are blind of where to look, we might not ever find it. This quote is also extremely broad. The “visible” is such a vast list while the invisible is much shorter. I think it’s probably overwhelming to think of everything around us as a mystery instead of looking for mystery in what we don’t know exist or believe in but have not yet seen.
“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis
I think that this quote from C.S. Lewis is more personal. The similarity is that they all have something to do with how an individual sees the world and how they go about living in the world we live in. Galileo, for instance, was someone who did not conform to the ways of the church and formulated his own thoughts and ideas about the universe. This, in the words of C.S. Lewis says something about the kind of person he was or where he came from. He was in a way an outsider and someone who “stood” in a different area than the rest of Rome, alongside the other scientists who supported his theory. I think that Galileo saw things differently than those around him literally and figuratively and that is why he was chastised and placed lower than everyone else in that particular society. Saying that what people hear and see places them into certain groups of people says something about how diverse societies people are and how many different mindsets can exist. For example, if you place two different people in front of something or project a certain sound towards them, there is the likelihood that their reactions, sense reactions, and overall thought processes differ. I think that this quote by C.S. Lewis is meant to signify more of the character of people and place emphasis on the fact that different kinds of people may have a different perspective on things of this world based on where they are coming from.
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”
What makes this quotation so interesting is the person who said it. For most of the population, we know that Hellen Keller wasn’t just blind, but she was also deaf and by that, mute. This is coming from an individual who had two vital senses stripped away from her at a very young age and upon maturity, doesn’t know the world any differently.
I think that she uses the word pathetic to describe this kind of person because she sees vision as a gift, a gift that she was not given. To people who don’t have the deficiencies that she had, they might not think twice about the “gift” of vision. It is sort of similar to the Thoreau quote of “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” This is for the people that don’t see meaning in sight and not just take it for granted, but they don’t use it to the full potential that someone like Hellen Keller would if she had that gift. Her quote differs from Thoreau’s because she talks about vision which is a different connotation than “see”. Vision could mean a wide range of things from the literal sense of seeing something to the figurative sense of a vision of life, the future, and so on.
I think that this is interesting because Hellen Keller could be described as a person who doesn’t have sight but has vision.
“All we have to believe is our senses: the tools we use to perceive the world, our sight, our touch, our memory. If they lie to us, then nothing can be trusted.”
– Neil Gaiman, American Gods
I think that sensory capabilities are the source of our knowledge as humans, both basic and advanced. Neil Gaiman in his quote basically says that everything that happens is because of our senses and the information that they deliver to us. I find this quote interesting in relation to the ocularcentrists we’ve read from because it talks about how the other senses coincide with one another and basically supports the unity of the senses as opposed to the division of vision. I agree more so with this way of thinking because while I think that vision is extremely significant and universal in that sense, I think that it gets a lot of help from the other senses. I also think it is interesting that he mentions that they cannot be trusted if they lie to us. I feel like this could be taken in multiple different ways and analyzed differently. I understood it as, that there is so much dependence placed on sensory information that if any part was to fail us, we would be hesitant in trying to comprehend certain things.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. Social media is a tool that the upcoming generation is using to be able to portray themselves in any way they choose. To clear things up, I am neither arguing for or against social media, I’m simply pointing out what it is and what it’s capabilities are.
The idea that we believe what we see has largely defined what we consider real or not real. When it comes to social media, we are presented with visual information that we believe to be real and true even if it is or isn’t. Simply put, we believe what others want us to believe because it is something we see and observe through our technological devices.
Often times we don’t consider the fact that pictures can be edited or distorted or placed out of context. They can additionally be accompanied by words or “captions” that further distort any validity of the material being posted. I don’t believe that every single post on social media is false, but I do believe that we should consider the possibility that anything we see from someone else’s postings might not always be real. Instead the post could very well may be whatever that other individual wants us to believe.
The power of social media is in a way consuming because the majority of the users do not consider the different angles that are played. Angles such as editing, context, and false captioning. In my opinion, social media can be used in positive ways, to connect those of this world easily, but the naivety of humans to “believe what we see” is problematic when seeing the truth what others publish to the web.
“The power to concentrate was the most important thing. Living without this power would be like opening one’s eyes without seeing anything.”
I find this quote by Haruki Murakami to be particularly interesting because he describes concentration as a power. And by what he is saying, the power of concentration is equivalent to to being able to see and observe the world around you. I think that this quote can be related to Berger because he talks about our vision being manipulated by other things, like reproductions of an image through a photograph. This is applicable to aspects of concentration. There are so many influences and distractions that affect concentration. Therefore it is powerful to be able to concentrate on one thing.
When I initially read this, I thought immediately about distractions in relation to concentration. When we think about concentration, we automatically think about the academic, or working lifestyle and being able to focus in on those aspects of life. Additionally, we think about distractions as things such as leisurely or fun activities, or technology and social media. Although it is important to focus on the academic things in life, I believe that one can concentrate on anything depending on the intention. For instance if one set out to enjoy a movie or laying out in the sun, academics or work life are now the distraction as they are taking away from the task at hand. Concentration is simply the ability to mono-task, and if one can concentrate on anything, this means that anything can be a distraction.
There is a video that circulated two years ago regarding the makeup industry and how they create an “ideal” form of beauty that women should aspire to. The video was put out by Dove, and in few words exhibits a plain, makeup-free woman who comes into a studio and undergoes an extreme makeover which concludes with her picture being taken, edited, and placed on a billboard for a face makeup advertisement. At the end of the video, the words “no wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” were inserted. The significance behind this advertisement is that the model that is being displayed on the billboard isn’t real. She did just have makeup put on her face, she was reformatted to fit desired features i.e. long neck, thin face, big eyes, etc. This is a representation of the distortion and attempted redefinition of beauty in order to manipulate the women who are looking at this advertisement and applying it to themselves. It is also a small example of manipulative cosmetic advertisements, because there are more products than just face makeup that target the insecurities of the female population.
When women are presented with a “model of beauty” they are essentially being forced to question their self perception and evaluate their physical appearances. Over time, cosmetics and their sellers have created so many social norms and expectations from society, that effect everyone, even women who don’t wear makeup, as well as men. Advertisements such as these have altered the perceptions of the women wearing the makeup who feel pressure, the women who don’t, the men who are looking at these women.
Dove. “Dove Evolution | With some images, all is not what it seems.” Online video clip. YouTube. Dove US, April 1, 2014.Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5qZedMTkkE March 25, 2016.
As this world is growing technologically and industrially, the importance of nature is slowly becoming obsolete. I don’t speak for everyone because there are still those who devote their lives to activities in the natural world, and those who devote their lives for the preservation of nature. This being said, from my speculation, growing up and moving from place to place, many individuals I have run into are not being taught or are developing appreciation and admiration for nature. There are a lot of issues surrounding this and I am not necessarily “blaming” these individuals for their lack of exposure to natural environments.
The next generation has become so used to the visual exposure of screens of many kinds from phone to laptops to TV’s and other gaming systems. While technology has had many positive impacts on our culture, the diversion from nature and time spent outside is one of its negative attributes. Even as I write this, typing away on my computer, I am hypocritically utilizing my time staring at a screen talking about the natural world instead of being in it, and going for a walk or run, or even just sitting outside. Appreciation for nature is no doubt dwindling and the more we build and develop to distract ourselves, the more separated we become.