A fish, and a boy peering down into its mouth. What could it mean? I never really thought much about the meaning of this statue. I just always knew that very few people in the city know of it and its whereabouts, and I always thought it would be an awesome shot. So when Cooper asked me to come out to Balboa Park with him and his camera, I had a tick list of obscure shots I’d never been able to capture. I was just super excited to share these places with him.
The result was something puzzling. A new experience, and a new appreciation for something authentic and rare. A real abstract piece of art.
He propped his phone on this old shed with the light on, hoping it wouldn’t fall, while I stood at the edge of the fountain with my phone light held high waiting for his direction to adjust the angle so the camera would focus. It was dark.
I once had a conversation with a philosophy professor about who was right, Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, or George Orwell in 1984. He made a strong argument that it was in fact Huxley who was correct, and that today we are not controlled by society, but that we are infatuated with it and have willingly given ourselves to it.
We live in a world where our primary source of interaction with one another is conducted out of view and through a screen. The life we present is a moderated one, and the content selected is a preview of the life we wish to present. A misrepresentation. Before long we accepted the contrived as truth, and the truth as contrived. What a hollow existence.
It seems like everything has become a misrepresentation. This Blue Velvet ideal plaguing what’s real. We must preserve the image and project all attention away from the truth. Or maybe it has become the truth. We’re all just sitting down as prisoners in Socrates Cave accepting this shadow play.
If you you could step back and view what your life has become, honestly–assess how you spend your time on this planet, would you be content?
Maybe it’s just a boy peering down the throat of some fish. Or maybe it’s a tree, and the boy is sitting down on his desecrated tree, the one he destroyed, but now he’s old and withered and the tree is hopelessly dying–he is hopelessly dying.
Maybe it’s just an old man sitting on a tree stump, the one he made the boat out of to sail away. You ever think it strange that the boy always returned to his tree? It’s like, there are some things we just can’t escape from.
Maybe the boy and the fish aren’t all that separate, like the boy and the tree. Maybe the boy is the flesh and the fish is the soul, as was the boy and his tree. And like when the old man sat on the hardened stump he cored out of himself for whatever he was so desperate to achieve in this world outside of himself, maybe this boy is peering down into his gutted soul, and now he’s realizing that he prostituted himself into the grave–and for what?
That sure would describe the grim look.
But then again, maybe it’s just some random boy looking down the throat of some random fish.
Or maybe it’s you, and you’re staring down into the depths of some gutted carcass trying to figure out what makes you tick.