I've seen a lot in my 39 years. Images that graze in my mind, flowing in and out like an ebbing tide on the shore. Babies laughing for the first time, my mother slowly losing her battle to breast cancer, jubilation in my victorious daughter's eyes, children clamoring for crayons, a quiet old man in his tattered lawn chair watching the sun set, a couple in Montreal fighting as the beauty of their language lilted in my ears, a five-year-old in a North Philadelphia playground swinging over an empty vial, my husband silently running to embrace me on 9/11 -- the human condition, my human condition, in imagery. It's my sense of place, my room with a view.
Over the past few months that room has shifted. My memories, my view, includes a lot of what you reading this see. A fashion show in London, a shop in Finland, the tarmac in New Zealand, your children playing on the beach in New Hampshire, you at that L.A. nightclub, the morning's coffee in Boston. My view is your view now. The intimacy of social media is inspiring a cultural homogeny, no, a cultural anti-homogeny, that is shifting global perspective.
I often think if former President Bush was active on Twitter in those years following 9/11, we would have a different outcome. We would have less fighting, because he saw that mother in Afghanistan smiling at her baby, or the simple pleasure of that cup of coffee in Iraq. If he saw the humanity, if he saw the humanity we share, how we are more alike than different, how our views are more alike than different, we would have less fighting. If he saw there was more beyond Texas, well...
The sun rises and falls just the same. A smile is a smile is a smile. We feel the same sadness. We claim the same joy. Our humanity is the same. Or should be.
What is unique about our individual views of the world is that we find innovations around us, or geographic markers that inspire emotion and energy. The same emotions we all share, but a different way of getting to it. We're more alike than we are different, indeed, but our views, how we ingest the experiences are unique.
That French couple fighting was beautiful to me, maybe not so much to someone who speaks the language well. But it's beauty just the same. It's their passion I loved. They were both so right. Just like you in that picture somewhere in Norway, and that art from New Delhi you posted to Flickr. The passion in what you see is what I love. And passion has a way of uniting us.
Social media is digital passion, where our cultures collide with overwhelming emotional energy. Share your love. Share your sadness. Share your beauty. Share your room with a view. What do you see today?
Photo credit: anthonyasael, Flickr creative commons