Visions and Sounds

Sight and sound are equally important in the way we experience the world, yet the visual dominates.

Sound has an important role to play in nature and human societies. From the bird song that breaks out to let us know dawn of a new day has begun, the use of drums by some cultures as a form of aural communication, and the songs we sing to accompany of life’s journeys, to the speeches made by orators that move us by their words alone. What we hear influences how we feel and what we do.

As technology has advanced, the world has become an increasingly noisy, confusing and disturbing place. However, the visual still overides the sound. Social media has reinforced the visual with Instagram, Snapchat and even Facebook focusing on it. How many reading this have tried the filters on them, or the new age app to see how we will look when older? YouTube is about the moving image, but it is still more watching than listening that dominates it. Furthermore, loosing our eyesight is seen as far worse than our other senses – research found in medical students almost 60% considered blindness worse than deafness while only about 6% considered deafness worse. Yet, we can buy a pair of reading glasses from a supermarket for our eyes, why is it not that simple for our hearing?

We live in a world of fake and manipulated images, so how can we believe what we see as real? Equally, what we hear is just as fake – from the latest pop song that the vocals maybe the vocalist’s own mixed with others then autotune to produce the voice we hear streamed in our ears, to the mainstream news stories told by reporters as fact but maybe spun or based on slight truths. In many ways we live in George Orwell’s 1984: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.

Perhaps we let visual dominate as we like to see the world through rose tinted glasses, and by listening we are forced to hear things we may not want to. Equally, by listening properly we have to engage in a way we are forgetting, as have become too addicted to the little black mirror that has more technology in it than took a man to the moon fifty years ago.

So what can we do? Use all our senses, not just our vision and hearing. “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” Roy T. Bennett,

© Fi S. J. Brown

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Be the change

Be the change you want to see in the world” is perhaps one of the greatest faux quotes of them all, yes you heard me faux, there is no reliable documentary evidence for Gandhi ever saying it at all. The closest verifiable remark we have from him is this:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

So what does it actually mean? To me it means that if we do not agree with the way something is, and feel the need to do something about it, do not sit back and wait for another to do so…if we’re that passionate about it, that should be our driver for change. Despite the celebrity culture now enriched in our world, it is doing it because it is what we want to change it. The money that may come with fame can act as an incentive for many to act on making a change rather for the change.

Not everyone will gain fame and/or see change in their lifetime, Ghandi, Henry Salt, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall or Emmeline Pankhurst did/have and why we thank them now. Think of the actions of others such as Thich Quang Duc who set himself on fire in protest in Vietnam or “Tank Man” (Wang Weilin?) at the protest at Tiananmen Square. Even now I know people from Kenya, Cameroon, DR Congo, India and Pakistan working for change as it’s what they believe in.

I am passionate about humanity’s connection with the environment, to think individually not as a herd of sheep, and losing the stigma on mental health. Using my actions, words and art to speak for me and inspire others that is what I love. To that end, I now use my writing and photography as my way to be the change in the world I want to see. Do I want to be the next JK Rowling? No I do not, I only want to be remembered by friends as someone who tried and gave their all.

© Fi S. J. Brown