Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Layers of Beingness

This is a shot taken in Monaco.   When I look at this
shot,  I am living vicariously.
A couple of years ago, when the Monday Night Girls Group was meeting regularly, we had the idea of building a web page.  We decided to call it "Layers of Beingness."  And our model was those little Russian nested dolls that you see, one inside the other.

Lately, I've been playing with something in my head, that resembles that idea.  What are the layers of our lives like?  What's the difference in vicarious and virtual? (I know, of course, the difference between actual and vicarious.  Actual is physical, "real.")

Nor is vicarious a new concept to me;  I have been an avid reader most of my life.  As a matter of fact, it sometimes seems that most of what I know I learned vicariously, i.e. through reading.  At least, that seemed so in the first 45 years of my life.  I had a life, but it was vicarious.

My experiences didn't seem to be mine at all.  I felt like a stranger in my own life.  About the age of 45, things changed.  My children grew up and left home.  I got a divorce from a 25-year marriage.  I quit my teaching job at the University of Alabama.  I went to live in Zurich.

There was an interim when it didn't feel like I had an "I," an ego.  I got up in the morning and recreated myself every day -- it took lots of time -- so that I could go into the outer world and interact with my new friends in Zurich and go to class at the C.G.Jung Institute for Analytical Psychology.

Gradually, however, I created a new "I."  I came "home."  Eventually, I got another job.  My children returned to the town they grew up in.  We began again to live our lives -- our new lives -- in the same physical space.  Now, for the first time, I had a life I identified with.  It was mine.  I created it.  I had two lives, both an actual (physical) life that was mine  and a vicarious one.  (See the photo above.)

Not too long ago, I felt another change taking place, not so drastic in my outer world as the first one, but it feels equally as life changing in my inner world.  My working life finally wound down.  (It's about time.  I have been working since I was 16.)  I am free now to spend my days almost exactly as I choose, and I have put together a schedule that pleases me.
This is the same shot enhanced with 100 Cameras in 1.  When I look at this
shot, I call that living virtually.

I sleep late.  I loaf.  I lounge around.  I talk on the phone.  I go foraging for my food.  I do only what's necessary to keep my physical life running smoothly.  Mostly, I play in my head and on the computer.

I spend hours on the computer, reading my blogs, answering a few e-mails, writing a hub now and then.  These days, re-shooting the photographs on my MAC with the iPhone and seeing what I can make of them with the various Apps.

This is what I call my virtual life.  I start with a vicarious experience and I interact with it using what little technology I have learned, and -- voila -- it becomes something else.  (See the photo at right.)

So, now I have three lives:  a physical/actual one, a vicarious one, and a virtual one.  No one is better than the other two.  Sometimes I enjoy one; sometimes I enjoy another.  Now I have choices.  And that makes my life/lives richer.

Are there more layers to be added?  Don't know.  Wait and see.

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