Tuesday, January 19, 2016
I was considering the visual world that we live in. How everyone at a glance makes snap judgements about people based only on one piece of information, their appearance. Having a son with a disability and being a person who dresses authentically I see the judgements cast our way rather frequently. I also make judgments of my own, we all do.
We have all done it and at the end of the day it is a waste of time and serves no purpose but to lower our energy especially if the judgement is negative. I read this quote once that said something like, "You don't see me as I am you see me as you are". An interesting thought and inspires me to take pause and reflect.
Thinking about this topic I was reminded of the concept and social experiment of "Bagism". On March 31st 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave a press conference at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, Austria. This was the first announcement of 'Bagism,' which they describe as "total communication." John clarified by saying; "Because when we were in Amsterdam doing Bed Peace, halfway through the week we sort of realized a tag to put on what we're doing which makes it easier for us and you to recognize what we're doing, by calling it Bagism. That means, if we have something to say or anybody has something to say, they can communicate from one room to another, and not confuse you with what color your skin is, or how long your hair’s grown, or how many pimples you’ve got."
John Lennon and Yoko Ono exhibit one of Yoko's art forms, called Bagism, at their Bank St. home in the West Village.
According to Wiki, Yoko said that bagism was inspired by the theme of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, which was "One sees rightly only with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eyes." She hoped that the bag, by hiding her and John's physical appearance, would make their essence or the essence of their message visible.
I am in an industry that is based entirely on the exterior, the fashion industry. For me, I personally look at fashion as an outer expression of who you are inside, a second language. But of course I can only guess or assume what one is trying to convey by the way they choose to adorn themselves, merely one part of the human puzzle. If you dress authentically the world can see who you are without having to speak on one level or make a false judgement based only on your appearance. Total communication concept turns this all brilliantly upside down. Imagine if you were left only to judge based on words alone? no preconceived notions about who you are and what you are thinking in that moment, not based on your clothing, color of your skin, weight, gender or other physical features? I think this was a very important social experiment and social message that still a powerful concept today. It serves as a reminder of how we let our physical world impact us and how much we rely on the appearance of others to formulate opinions about that person. It forces us to take a look at the human social illness of judgement and why we continue to participate.
In my almost 37th year of life I try to look past appearance and even language now and 'judge' someone on what they DO, their actions as opposed to sometimes empty words.
I do 'Imagine' a day though where as humans we can have what John and Yoko refer to; total communication. A dialogue that is genuine and free from judgements and preconceived notions. Conversations where we choose to listen before we look and truly hear before we hurt the other person. Can preconceived notions ever be set aside in honor of "total communication"? or should we just get back in the bag?