Monday, November 5, 2007

traffic, shopping, and comparisons...

i find it painfully amusing (read not that amusing at all, but slightly interesting in my bizarre little mind) that you can jaywalk to the high heavens in new york city, but you can't turn right on a red light. i'm sure these two are correlated, but still. i'm all for pedestrian right of way (which they don't actually have), and yet a part of me is still that seattle driver that would want you to wait for ME and my bright, shiny bumper.

i've noticed recently that i pay a large amount of attention to what other people are picking up in a store when i'm there. or, more to the point, i pay attention to what OTHER people are also picking up the same items that i am. i have a thing about shopping in large bargain stores like H&M, because i really don't want to be caught on the subway wearing the same thing as some frumpy woman with 80s bangs. is that bad?

here's my amazing seque from comparison shopping to 'comparison shopping'... i slay me really. i notice that i worry too much about what other people are creating. i tend to comparison shop my talent. not 'shop FOR talent' or put my talent up for shopping, in a highway 99 ripped stocking, i'll give you a treat for twenty dollars kind of way (holy tangent). i mean that i look at what my peers are putting out (photographically speaking) and compare my work. one really shouldn't do that when talking about art and creation... but i still tend to do it. i compare myself... like i have every day of my life in most categories. learning, sports, popularity, life success... and now photography. it's hard not to do... but i know that a good number of them are comparing themselves to me too, which is so silly.

i don't have any actual conclusions about the above... i suppose i'd rather hear YOUR interpretation about why we feel the need to compare ourselves in general. i mean... who really cares?

well... besides me of course. carry on.

8 comments:

Karen said...

IMHO, as long as your comparisons are being used for good and not for evil, it's totally healthy.

Sometimes comparing ourselves to others can be useful in helping us set the bar higher for ourselves.

But that's just my opinion.

Natalie said...

hmmmm....the great comparison game..... in a way, I suppose we learn alot from each other and it's a positive thing to do....

But on the other hand, especially when comparing myself to you and Rach... I just want to quit. Through my hands in the air and go knit or something. For me, it's dangerous, and I've been making a concerted effort to stop comparing myself to you guys, or anyone for that matter.... it's a creativity sucker.

Jennifer Summer said...

I think it's because society has ingrained in us that everything is quantifiable and can be measured. This does not hold true to art, but we try to make it so. We ALL do it. Sometimes it ends with inspiration, other times frustration or a feeling of never being good enough. I know that every artist has days where they feel like they're faking it (tell me you have those days?). It is what it is.

xoxo

dactyl said...

oh honey, you don't know how MUCH i fake it. seriously.
oxxo


and nat... we've already talked about this... i'll punch you if you keep doing that.

the slackmistress said...

I don't when it comes to what I Actually Do because I have faith in my talent, but it's the popularity thing that always kills me. Even my own husband and I get competitive when it comes to web stats, or have moments when we read a particularly boring blog and think HOW DOES SHE HAVE 50 COMMENTS?

So not only am I neurotic, but I am also a terrible human being. So it balances out.

Karen K said...

"why we feel the need to compare ourselves in general"...

excellent question, dearie!

me thinks it's all realated to evolution, darwinism... that competitive spirit we humans seem to have. i think it originated in the need to create new ways to survive... and when we (meaning cavemen and stuff) saw others succeeding using some new technique and thus surviving even better, we copied it, and then improved upon it, and then we too survived and procreated etc etc.

however, now that many of us humans have the basics covered (food, water, shelter, clothing), we use that competitive spirit to get ahead in other areas of life...

comparing ourselves to others is a natural way to learn... babies use the monkey see monkey do approach when learning language, and every other darn thing they learn... and that method continues throughout life...

so in general, the fact that we compare ourselves to others is not a bad thing.

it only becomes bad when we make it bad... meaning, if we are petty and competitive out of insecurity, and we need to be better than everyone else just to make ourselves feel better, well then, that's silly and a waste of time. that time could be better spent figuring out why we're not happy with ourselves and then working towards fixing it...

*bell rings*

ok, class dismissed. read chapter 8 for tomtorrow. there will be a quiz... ;p

arija said...

Karen K said it well - it is programmed into our DNA to do what we need to survive, which historically meant competition and fitness. the difference here is that those traits - both in literal Darwinism, that is, physical survival of the fittest, and Social Darwinism, that is, obtaining things like education, money, and class status to advance in society - are all FAR more quantifiable than something like talent. In other words, the competition that allowed us to walk upright and have opposable thumbs and have DNA polymerases that fix the mistakes in the process of DNA replication are all very OBVIOUS ways of promoting and proliferating the human race. The kind of competition you speak of is self-imposed Darwinism. Traits or qualities that can't be quantified beyond a personal level, but yet our minds are programmed to approach them in this competitive fashion. It's absolutely FASCINATING to me... these vestiges of human survival instinct that literally have no place in the average person's life... so they manifest themselves as personal competitive benchmarks.

Anyway, competition certain can be healthy as long as it's not preventing you from doing anything. If you see someone else's work and you think, "Wow, that's amazing. I want to work to be that good, or better," then yes! (insert Lebron James Nike commercial here). If you look at someone else's work and say, "Wow, that's amazing, I couldn't possibly ever do that, I won't even try".... well, then you're letting Darwin down. And no one wants that.

martha said...

'i suppose i'd rather hear YOUR interpretation..'


there you go needing/wanting to compare again...

;)