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Sartre May Have A Point (Or Why Every Day Should Be An "Astigmatism" Day)
6/16/2014 11:32:09 AM
The most misunderstood quote I have ever heard of is by Jean Paul Sartre.  His line about "Hell is Other People" is usually translated as an excuse to withdraw from society as a whole - not unlike that actress (whose name escapes me at the moment) who famously said "I want to be alone".

The true meaning of the "Hell is Other People" quote is more along the lines of "Hell is Other People's Opinions, Fashions, Fads, and Judgements" especially when - no matter how much you attempt to conform to the ideals and conventions set down by someone who has never met you - you know you are going to come up short.

As someone who has a lifetime's experience of trying to conform in one way or another - with varying degrees of failure - mainly due to my sight, I wish we could all just treat each other as valuable humans.

The second part of the title to this post is a bit of a play on words.  The medical definition of "Astigmatism" is blurred vision caused by an irregular shaped cornea or lens which results in blurred vision.  I borrowed the word because it sounded a bit like it was along the lines of "asymetric" or not symetric (ie, uneven - as in Asymetric Bars now known as "Uneven Bars" in gymnastics).

"Stigmatism" is s something we all face in one form or another (and to differing degrees).  It seems like not a day goes by without someone somewhere deciding to have a protest or campaign against inequality of some kind.

So - my definition of "Astigmatism" would be not having (or being subjected to) any kind of stigma.

There is a dangerous flip side though.  If we concentrate on removing stigma from sections of society, ie, women, disabled people, homeless, unemployed, etc, how are we going to treat them as fully paid up members of society?  More to the point - how are we going to "empower" (you really have no idea how much I hate that word) them to realise that they can achieve anything everybody else can???

As a "Disabled" person myself - I really hate it when people decide what I need without asking me, or judge me on what they see before they allow me to show them who I am.  Yes - I may do some things differently to how you do them but I work on the assumption that "as long as it gets done that is all that matters".

You can have all the "Anti-Ism" Days you can fit into a year, you can even hold focus groups about how you are going to fight discrimination against every section of society you can think of.  However, if you don't listen to the people affected by discrimination when they telll you what they want to be done about it, you are just wasting your time on a "Look At Me - Aren't I brilliant?" mission which helps nobody.

Richie Sambora wrote "If God Was A Woman" 
http://youtu.be/9EJMduFhgqM talking about exactly what I have been discussing in this blog post.
New Website - Fresh Start
6/9/2014 2:46:54 PM
Hello and welcome to the new "Inkyworld" blog section.

If you are a reader of my original blog you will know what to expect.  (Unfortunately the original blog posts didn't survive the move to this website.)

For those of you who are new to my blog - this is where I write about anything and anyone who interests me.

I intend to keep to the same headings as in my original blog (and add one extra one);

"Visions on Inequality" - where I discuss inequality and marginalisation of certain sections of society.

"Inspired by the News" - this is self-explanatory.  If I see a news story somewhere and I am inspired by it it will be written about here.

"Inspirational People" - Anyone who has inspired me.  I make no apology for the fact that most of the individuals on this list are people you have never heard of - I hope you will find them as inspirational as I do though.

"Being Me" - Here is where my quirkiness is most likely to make an appearance.  It is allso where you are most likely to learn about what really goes on in my brain.

"Sightlines" - This new section is where you will find my thoughts on sight (in all its forms).  (Warning - this section could get very dark and difficult to read at times.)

"Oddities" - This is a catch all for anything which doesn't fit in any of the other blog categories.

I suppose the only thing left for me to do now is to thank the heroes who supported the original "inkyworld" - scraped me off the floor when I felt like giving up blogging completely - threw advice and suggestions at me - and - most of all - convinced me that I am honestly good at writing.  A few of the slightly crazier ones managed to convince me that I am good enough to attempt to take up writing professionally (they are the people you can blame for a small blog being turned into a website which I hope to use to showcase my talents).

I hope you enjoy reading my ramblings.
Photography As A Way Of Seeing What Is In Front Of You (Or Using A Camera To Help You See)
6/9/2014 2:46:54 PM
This may sound like a daft question but why do you take photographs?

Is it so you have a reminder of the nice scenery you saw on your recent travels?  Or as a record of important events in your life (wedding, parties, etc)?  (This can also turn into a game of "Guess Who" - as in "Guess Who on Earth is that gentleman standing next to Aunty Maureen in the photo which was taken at some random event in the late 1960's.  Someone forgot to write a list of the names on it - or maybe they did then promptly stuck it in an album so you can't read the names anyway.)  You may even want to use the photos to illustrate an article or a news item???

I usually take photos for a slightly different reason to all the above.  Which might go some way to explaining why I was taken aback when someone at a "Media Training" event I attended informed the room at large that they couldn't understand why people used photo-editing software to polish up or alter their photos.

According to this individual - when you take a photo you should leave the resulting image alone.  This is all well and good if you are photographing events for a news story.  However, the individual forgot a couple of things.

They had obviously forgotten about the zoom function on cameras and telescopic lenses.  Both of these alter the image before you take the photo.  Would they like those banned from all future cameras???

Cameras alter the image even before you press any buttons on them at all.  They seem to shift the focus of what you are looking at - so - if you are not careful - that nice family portait can end up looking like various heads and miles of wall above them.

My reason for taking photos is usually to help me see something.  The object could be in the distance or the lighting may not make the object easy for me to see even if I am standing close to it.  For example when I am looking at something which has the sun behind it.

Admittedly there are occasions when I see something from a different angle and think it is too interesting to ignore.

Have a look at these photos of the outside of some stained glass windows on a sunny day;


There is no way my eyes could have seen the exact colours on their own - I just saw the pretty patterns made by the frames around the pieces of glass.

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