08 Jul Sunflowers And Mirrors
Sunflowers And Mirrors – Jason Harding
There was this lady that lived near us for ages. And I used to interact with her regularly – usually running back from the surf. When she moved away she gave me some seeds which I planted in a terracotta pot once owned by my Nana. This sunflower was the result. Epic looking flower. Super bright. Like the smile on my daughter’s face the moment she saw it had bloomed. But it had the opposite effect on me. For when I spotted it early the same morning I suddenly realised that I didn’t even know the lady’s name. It has been said that there are two very different ways in which we see people: as a ‘you’ and as an ‘it’ (Martin Buber’s theory cited by Patrick Stokes in New Philosopher Magazine @newphilosophermagazine Issue 2 2013, p.23). And what I realised this one particular morning was that this lady was just an ‘it’ to me. A simple object that I navigated around and dealt with in a base-level, pre-programmed, and mechanical fashion. Whenever I said ‘Hi’ to this lady it was “more for the sake of form than feeling” (Stokes, 2013 again)’. A heartbreaking look into the mirror. Which left me wondering why she would bother giving someone like me a handful of sunflower seeds.