I recently returned from a family trip to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. As you might expect, I had a wonderful time with my wife and two young boys. You might also expect that I returned with a few philosophical observations about human behavior and life perspectives. Your expectations are correct!
"The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived." ~ Soren Kierkegaaard
The featured photograph (above) was one of only around 100 that I took while in various parks of Disneyworld over a four day period. We spent at least 10 hours per day riding rollercoasters, watching shows, consuming wonderful food and drinks, and generally soaking in the magical world of Disney. You math minds may already be thinking, "That's only an average of 2.5 photographs per hour." Thanks for that segue into my point...
I estimate some people must have averaged close to 2.5 photographs per minute. I love photography and I respect the desire to capture the moment but at what cost? As I snapped the photo during Disney's "Wishes" fireworks display, I noticed dozens of people filming the entire 30-minute show with digital cameras, iPhones and iPads without pausing to watch the show with their own eyes.
I took 4 pictures. The point is that looking through a lens deadens the experience; capturing the image loses the moment.
Philosophical observation #1 is that images may be seen again and again but life cannot be re-lived.
A photograph will not remind you of something that you never fully experienced. Unless photography is your art and brings meaning and purpose to your life, every moment you live behind a screen is a moment you lose in life. Keep a balance.
"Once men are caught up in an event, they cease to be afraid. Only the unknown frightens men." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you need evidence that humans have a fear of the unknown, I have three words for you: Tower of Terror -- easily the most thrilling ride in Disneyworld (Hollywood Studios Park). You step inside what appears to be the set of a Twighlight Zone episode while Rod Serling explains the story of the Hollywood Hotel and the death of guests one fateful evening during a lightning storm, which caused the elevator to fall 13 floors down.
Of course, you step into the elevator, strap yourself in and the lights go off. As you sit in suspense for 10 seconds (which feels more like 10 minutes), the elevator drops. Classic suspense...
It is no surprise that two of the other great thrillers, Space Mountain in The Magic Kingdom and The Rockin' Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios also take unexpected turns... in the dark.
Philosophical observation #2: The fear of the unknown is at the root of all human fears. Turn out the light, turn on the fear.
"If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion." ~ Naom Chomsky
Sometimes, when illusion is voluntary--when one is aware of it--illusion can be good. In different words, the awareness that illusion exists dissolves it and transforms it into entertainment (or as Disney calls it, magic). Many people make the mistake of living in a man-made world of form deadened by words, symbols, concepts and social conventions. This is the bad form of illusion.
On vacation one relaxes and releases their inhibitions, they sense their authentic nature. Laughter is effortless, deadlines cease, connection to screens are disconnected. You become yourself because there is nothing covering your authenticity. Why must that only be reserved for weekends, vacations and retirement?
Philosophical observation #3 is to never leave the mindset of vacation. This is not escapism, it is realism. Transform the reality you thought was illusion into the illusion you thought was reality.