Ways of Seeing III

"It shows her passively looking at the spectator staring at her naked. This nakedness is not, however, an expression of her own feelings; it is a sign of her submission to the owner's feelings or demands. (The owner of both woman and painting.)... It is worth noticing that in other non-European traditions - in Indian art, Persian art, African art, Pre-Columbian art - nakedness is never supine in this way. And if in these traditions, the theme of a work is sexual attraction, it is likely to show active sexual love as between two people, the woman as active as the man, the actions of each absorbing each other....

We can now begin to see the difference between nakedness and nudity in the European tradition....

To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen by others and yet not recognized for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude. (The sight of it as an object stimulates the use of it as an object.) Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is on display....

In the average European oil painting of the nude the principal protagonist is never painted. He is the spectator in front of the picture and he is presumed to be a man."

~ John Berger

Ways of Seeing II

"Men survey women before treating them. Consequently how a woman appears to a man can determine how she will be treated. To acquire some control over this process, women must contain it and interiorize it. That part of a woman's self which is the surveyor treats the part which is the surveyed so as to demonstrate to others how her whole self would like to be treated. And this exemplary treatment of herself by herself constitutes her presence. Every woman's presence regulates what is and is not 'permissible' within her presence. Every one of her actions - whatever its direct purpose or motivation - is also read as an indication of how she would like to be treated. If a woman throws a glass on the floor, this is an example of how she treats her own emotion of anger and so of how she would wish it to be treated by others. If a man does the same, his action is only rad as an expression of his anger. If a woman makes a good joke this is an example of how she as joker-woman would like to be treated by others. Only a man can make a good joke for its own sake. One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of a woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object - and most particularly an object of vision: a sight."

~ John Berger

When Death is Not the End

Is there an afterlife? Two psychologists, Jesse Bering and David Bjorkland, put on a puppet show to find out. In the show a baby mouse is eaten by an alligator. The researchers then asked children what the (now dead) mouse might need.

Children below the age of ten understood the mouse was dead but believed the mouse still had emotions, like missing his mom. Children over the age of ten were more apt to believe the mouse no longer had emotions after death.

From the article:

"Bering and Bjorklund interpret these results: they think the sense that we 'continue on' is something that's with us from a very young age -- it’s how we "naturally" understand death before we're taught otherwise. Their idea is that to get to a place where you don’t believe in an afterlife, it actually takes UNLEARNING a basic belief."


And where did we get that belief? Object permanence. What babies learn - that when their mother leaves the room, she still continues to exist. We are not born with it, though. We learn object permanence and to learn it requires a leap of faith.