How do we function? By distilling at unfathomable speed objects in our plane of sight, processing them instantaneously as symbols in order to protect ourselves from their infinite assault on our senses. Our brains are jolted every second from regarding surroundings, we inhale color and light, we react, we step away, we stay put, our synapses save us with their subliminal functionality. We prevent ourselves from careening into mental, then physical unwinding. This is every day.
Which exact moment is the center of a day of distilled objects? Do you—100 trillion cells, carbon and water, manually dexterous—usually attribute value to a central moment, or do you allow it to fleet by? The finding of keys which persecuted you with loss, the violence of humiliation from guilt, your child running towards your car after school lets out. Success, sadness, connectivity, isolation, renewed agency, love. What happened to us before the moment? We swiped the toothbrush across our top row with one hand, clicked the mouse with the other; we leaned toward a friend’s gasp and regarded their phone screen; we clicked on a blue-worded link, we clicked right clicked right clicked right we are clicking and then we saw the photo of three boys in Gaza whose parents were killed by a bomb from an Israeli airplane and there, that is the center of the day.
Has your opinion on “conflict in the Middle East” still not come about? You are not extraordinary enough to assess the policies of Israel against the Palestinians? We are all capable of comprehending them via a move through object regard, to symbol-imbuing, to interpreting as perhaps the most god forsaken thing that’s ever happened in our lifetime. But to be unwilling to interpret: this situation is perhaps what we have come to as a species, a full-circle point, no longer advancing as organisms except to manipulate our natural surroundings to our preferences and not to anyone else’s.
If you cannot interpret this photo, then you haven’t passed the point of object identification, ever. Let me try leading you: the object sprawled on ground, the object standing and leaning back, the object bent over and supported by the largest object. Here we go, brain: The jazzy blue shirt tucked in, the sandals retained on feet, the numerical gauge of a truck’s diesel capability, the mouths ajar and the eyes wailing; the brothers who had a mommy and daddy who are not in the photo; the incalculability of humans.
We should break down our biology (as I’ve started to above and below) to see where we began, and then trace ourselves back as a species to this photo which, if we’ve processed like a good liquid machine, we have at least then affirmed that its viewing is the center of our day, which might mean in multiple numbers of views that it could possibly be the center of the world today? Quickly, regard our jumbled biological history: carbon and water, primates, the history of dexterous hands—cut and wet from only foraging, slaying, eating, grabbing, to their present functions: clicking, clicking, and clicking. And we say we are the most reasonable on the planet. You may reason: “I cannot look at this photo again.” This is the result of seeing objects, turning them into symbols, you are an extraordinary functioning educable clicking machine—you will interpret the policies of Israel against the Palestinians as god forsaken and then leave it at that if you wish, because that was the moment after the center of your day. You can look at this photo again.