Sunday, February 15, 2009

Short Sunday Musings: Words v. Pictures

It's Sunday and global financial markets are closed. In the absence of bid-offer gyrations the mind spins a little slower and has the chance to see things somewhat differently, perhaps more clearly. Even the qualities of light and colour are richer, more saturated somehow. Time stretches to its potential, striving to claim the full extent of space.

Ahh, perception is everything. So, here goes something about that.
___________________________________________________

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. How true.

The headline of the BBC story immediately caught my attention: "Global warming underestimated", it proclaimed and warned that "the severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed."

The story continued:

"Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof. Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.

Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem. He said the increases in carbon dioxide have been caused, principally, by the burning of coal for electric power in India and China."

The whole story is quite short; you should read it here.

But my point is about the picture that accompanied it..

This Is Not About Us

A polar bear... for heavens' sake, a cuddly polar bear - and in a pristine frozen landscape, at that. The less than subtle message: this whole global warming schtick is all about a couple of bears in some godforsaken frozen place a million miles away. "Move on, this is none of our concern", screams the photo, despite the dire warnings of the text.

How about this photo, instead?

Not A Drop To Drink

Or this one?

Global Warming Is A Burning Issue

And this one..

Global Warming Hits Home

Finally..

Global Warming Is All About Us

And if you think all of the above have nothing to do with debt, money or the price of beef in Iowa.. well.. perhaps you should look into emigrating to Mars.

13 comments:

Debra said...

Like this post, Hell.
I almost feel like preening that it is addressed to me and my preoccupation with words, but I will not be TOO arrogant, after all...
The words/pictures dilemma is an extremely important one, I agree with you.
It is as the very base of the great schism.
Think about it : Catholicism was a Christian sect that invested the picture as a means of transmitting important theological thought, and the Renaissance paintings are subtle, theological statements about faith, and art too.
Protestantism is obsessed with ABSTRACT words. Not pictures. And it dumps on idolatry (picture making ?) every chance it gets.
I maintain that poetry, living poetry that is, intricates words, images, and the natural world. It is the expression of a cosmogony.
Obviously, not journalese, and not most "scientific" formulations, including the ones that I read here, which are mostly language that has been killed and stuffed, while we're at it.
So, are words everything ?
LIVING words, yes.
Dead words, well...
But then, there are dead pictures too, right ?
And the demonstration that you pulled on this post by sticking together one text, and two different pictures is akin to the kind of exercise that the Quattro and Cinquecento (Catholic) Italian painters were doing with their art.
cheers.

Debra said...

On second thought : recommended reading on the issue of words and pictures : great French art historian Daniel Arasse, now dead, to our very very great loss.
A brilliant man writing about perception : the insoluble problem of seeing detail/seeing global. Very technical writing however. I have a very hard time understanding (all) he says...

Hellasious said...

Dear Debra,

Re: symbols and perception

My most significant other (a.k.a. the love of my life) refuses to wear anything that caries a cross. Whenever she sees one she shudders. I thought it was about not being religious, opium of the people, etc. but I was wrong.

So I asked her what she saw: "An instrument of torture", she said.

Sethdominus said...

A thought or two on this
perception thing

think:

words
worlds

wish
witch
watch
wash

our minds are creating all the time through perception for we affect all that we see whether we know it or not..just by the mere act of observation...we have an influence on everything we see.

we are also perception cleansers
we collapse energy in to form
and recycle energy or waves in real time everytime we see/look at something
study quantam physics

symbols are more dominant in the brain for we as a race have a brain that calculates in images or symbols or pictures if you will

that is the bottom line
we are symbol literate brains first and word brains second

PERCEPTION ISIS EVERYTHING EVERYTHING

BELIEVE IT OR NOT
no wonder a picture is truly worth a thousand words

Joe said...

We are entering into a period of tremendous change. The certain collapse of all things financial/economic is but one aspect of this change.

The climate change you speak of will further disrupt and dislocate humanity. I am in the camp these earth changes are external and not man-made. As such, there is nothing we can do but endure and adapt.

From what I understand, we are in for a decade of pure hell. Only a remnant of humanity will make it through to the otherside.

Joe M.

Debra said...

Joe, I think we are in for more than a decade of change.
My all too global analysis leads me to believe that we are weathering the collapse of Enlightenment thought, a relatively superficial phenomenon which masks the collapse of the monotheistic cosmogony which has determined our social structures for more than two millenia now.
Well, it's about time we found something else, in my book...

marcus said...

Saw Jared Diamond (Collapse) on the tube Friday. When asked his assessment of the societies that survived enormous strains to their systems compared to the ones that collapsed, he stated: the societies that survived had a rich ruling class that was not insulated from the consequences of the crisis.

Another reason, besides fairness, to let the entities responsible for this Ponzi scheme to collapse.

Debra said...

And Hell, I do not really understand your comment, nor how it addresses the way I think.
I don't condone the actions of the Inquisition.
Nor the many repressions that the Catholic Church carried out against what it deemed to be "heresies" (including the Protestant schism.)
Nor do I condone what Protestant repression has brought about in the world.
But, Hell, I'm really not crazy about what our government is doing all over the world in the name of those good old Enlightenment ideals "justice, freedom," and "liberty".
And you ?
Oops, and I almost forgot "democracy"...

Debra said...

And Hell, I do not really understand your comment, nor how it addresses the way I think.
I don't condone the actions of the Inquisition.
Nor the many repressions that the Catholic Church carried out against what it deemed to be "heresies" (including the Protestant schism.)
Nor do I condone what Protestant repression has brought about in the world.
But, Hell, I'm really not crazy about what our government is doing all over the world in the name of those good old Enlightenment ideals "justice, freedom," and "liberty".
And you ?
Oops, and I almost forgot "democracy"...

Anonymous said...

Yawn.

Avl Guy said...

Marcus, I resumed reading Collapse this week. I recommend it to everyone...and don’t feel obligated to try and read it in one sitting...I'm on the multi-year reading plan for this 525-page (hardbound)...LOL.
Different things will jump out at you...what struck me was 1) how societal 'collapses’ can occur in isolated places (Easter Island) v. how 'fallbacks' don’t necessarily take an entire peoples down depending on how inter-connected versus options at de-coupling.
2) How his take on Montana so resembles what’s happening in Western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mtns.

TeeElSea said...

Excellent catch!

The Media can "Do Their Duty" by "reporting" on GW *and*, at the very same time, obey their corporate masters by effectively neutering the entire piece, and in fact, *every other GW piece, by finishing it off w/ a picture of a polar bear. The embedded graphic implies that the bear is the (only) victim of GW. Sometimes Evil can be amazingly subtle.

I salute you for catching this as I have missed it myself.

TLC

Camabron said...

The real God is the planet which sustains all life, not an imaginary figure up in the sky. We should really "worship" the planet instead. Actually that's what ancient man did until organized religion($)came along and destroyed it all. The real money is to be had in monopolies (the church -any denomination- as the only means to reach God), and of course consumerism without regard for the environment (cost cutting). Indeed it's no coincidence that global warming is at this level along with a peak in the consumerist (black energy) way of life.