Tag Archives: wanting others to see things my way

564. Too Quick To Judge and Reflective Aftermath

Or how to walk through an emotional reaction, deconstruct it and see what’s there for me to learn about it

I had quite an experience today after watching the documentary called ‘Machines’ by Rahul Jain during the annual Documentary Festival Ambulante here in Mexico, of which I’ve been quite an avid assistant of for some years now. The reason why I watched it is because the topic interested me and the director was there to have a chat Q&A session afterward, which is where the whole point of ‘being too quick to judge’ emerged in me and that I’ve been looking at for a few hours now.

The documentary is about Indians working in textile industry for over 12 hours a day with minimal pay, the typical slave-job scenario yet shot quite ‘beautifully’ in the sense that you truly get to experience the dread of being in the factory and the noises of the machines, the repetitiveness, the heat, the dread that workers there – including young men as well – go through on a daily basis out of needing the money of course. I also found it quite eye opening in terms of textile creations and how fabric industry and ultimately fashion’s primer matter is created through the usual exploitative means just like everything else in our reality.

So, I actually liked the documentary in the sense that it opened myself to a reality that I had not have an opportunity to ‘vicariously witness’ before. I didn’t have a good time throughout it because there was a guy sipping some cheap alcohol throughout the whole documentary, and I started feeling very weird and reacting to that; ultimately it really got me feeling very off and almost sick, just like I would feel like when drinking alcohol in my younger years. I cannot know exactly how this happened, maybe the smell got me ‘activating’ some memories or maybe I was pissed off about the whole situation of someone ‘sipping on alcohol’ and ‘having a good time’ while watching a documentary that to me was actually quite sad and in essence quite a terrible working situation, though not as gruesome as the one that I watched last year called ‘Behemoth’ which truly accentuates the drama of slave-labor in China’s coal mines, the hell that the workers go through, living in abject poverty while at the same time being surrounded by the infamous Ghost Cities. Anyway, that was another story that I didn’t even get to tell about at that time because I could not find anything to say about that one documentary, no direction to it other than what it currently is as the consequence it is.

Back to this day after the documentary screening, the director and photography director – who happens to be Mexican – were there to answer questions. There were lots of people considering this documentary just won some awards in Sundance, so there I was being curious to see what the hype was all about. I made the first question to him about what was his reaction when the workers would talk to the camera and ask him to do something to change their situation, they were demanding an 8 hour work day instead of 12 plus and better wages, they asked humanity to wake up – and the response from the director is that he didn’t have any, he had no answer to them, and yes I understand he could not change anything of their situation, but he couldn’t either in that moment explain what that moment was for him, but simply said that ‘nothing’ came up, which I took as a ‘whaaat?? How can you??’ type of reaction, and the photography director probably understood my question a bit better and said that at the end of the documentary he simply had many more questions about our reality, and that’s it.

The rest of the questions were a bit more into the photography and the ‘beauty’ of it which is where the word ‘disconnect’ started coming up in me. I could not fathom that people were more focused on the beauty of how these textiles ‘flowed’ and how it was so nicely shot, while we had just witnessed the gruesome working experiences of probably millions if not billions of people not only in India but around the world and… well here is where I have to create the ‘alert’ explanation of what ‘MY WAY’ or MY expectation was about having an aftermath chat with the director geared to create an awareness about these people’s lives and the rest of it, or expecting some ‘societal change’ after it but the reality is that it’s also quite new, it hasn’t even been shown in India yet, so there I go with my ‘being too quick to judge’ position where some of these documentaries do end up having an effect in reality, but they do require a lot of hype and screenings so that people can start becoming aware of these mirrors that documentaries are for sure.

Another lady expanded on my question so as to see how shooting this documentary had changed the director’s life but he said that he didn’t change much because it’s not like stopping purchasing clothes will change a thing, or these people would go out of work, but I still didn’t get my expected ‘personal insight’ there and that’s when I simply lost interest = when I wasn’t getting the director’s insight that I expected based on previous experiences in similar screenings and their directors/creators.

To me this was a complete turn off and final point where people were asking how they had experienced the environment in the factory and the photography director responded with saying that the molecules around there felt hot and there was a heat from the machines and that he created his own environment, which I took as another ‘disconnected’ answer based on MY expectations of wanting to hear how draining or emotional it had been for him to witness the lives of these people, and in a way I went into the pattern of again seeing artists as detached voyeurs that use people’s suffering as their subject for fame, fortune, recognition and prizes through their films and the rest of it. So, at that point I felt physically ill due to my experience towards the guy sitting next to me, which is something I had never before experienced in this festival and it’s to me also quite a saddening experience that someone has to be drinking alcohol while watching other people’s misery, but that’s also a judgment and my own expectation of how I would want everyone else to also be eating their ‘heart’ as I perceive myself to have been doing, but, am I also not only just a comfortable voyeur of these situations through a movie? And so whatever I believe I experienced ‘towards others’ is in fact towards myself, in a way it was a deep sadness that I again become aware of these situations in a very ‘in my face’ manner and we haven’t yet been able to do something substantial about it, nor do I see a ‘soon end’ to it all either, yet I understand the level of consequences we’ve created as well.

I remember this is also the reason why I slowed down a lot from watching documentaries on my own, because it gets to a point where you can be so aware of many things going on in the world, but there’s the risk of falling into the helplessness, hopelessness and disempowerment oblivion when perceiving one cannot do anything at all to change these people’s lives right away, and that’s an actual fact and truth that we have to live with for the most part; yet that I still find myself getting caught into it and going into a covert blame point towards people, the directors, the whole notion of making of people’s suffering a subject of ‘appreciation’ and ‘award winning’ situations, but bear with me this is all currently having to do with my judgments, my expectations and ideas of how I wanted the whole discussion to go, how I wished that there was no human being drinking in this world and how I wish that all people in privileged positions such as myself could have some kind of open dialogue about our responsibility to create a better world for ourselves and the generations to come, which begins with stepping aside form indifference or apathy about the world’s situation.

I ended up leaving the Q&A only to dive into a whole walk of going into a very deep sadness and sorrow and I could exactly recall the various times that similar ‘episodes’ have happened in my life. It’s been always related to watching documentaries about the harsh reality and survival conditions in the world where I get ‘triggered’ by all that I get to see and become aware of, where I tend to sink into crying and being sad or angry at myself or others – or both – about the situations that people are going through in this world.

And in a way get angry at myself being just a privileged person that can sit around watching documentaries and am in fact so detached from many of these people’s lives yet they are also here, they are also a part of what’s here as myself, we are in fact equals and it ends up bothering me that yes, I cannot do much to change their particular situation and that I can only make sure I can be that one person that changes in my ways of living and approaching others and their situations, to do and be whatever best I can to continue living the principles where we can become supportive toward ourselves and one another, and to not lose track about myself and my life purpose based on how I perceive others’ words or interactions or sheer approach to this kind of discussions or documentaries.

Bottom line is I cannot expect people to see and understand or even approach these documentaries the same way that I do, nor can I imply that the way I approach them is the right way either. All of it is simply a reflection of myself and where I am in my life, where I see that I have yet to not generate contempt and disappointment towards other people upon seeing that they are not ‘responding’ the way I expected, because I was in a similar open discussion on Friday – yesterday actually – about religious hatred and that was a very cool one on the documentary ‘Forever Pure’ from director Maya Zinshtein, which was actually quite opening to me considering I have walked through a particular contempt about a faction that is presented in her documentary and instead, learn to see humanity or any other human as a reflection of myself /ourselves which she also did in her documentary about the religious hatred that exists between Jews and Muslims, and that’s a whole other story in itself but it was refreshing to see the kind of dialogue that opened up in that documentary and I went out of there being grateful that I had yet another perspective on documentaries being a mirror to see ourselves so that we can form our own conclusions about the points that we have to work with, such as in my case, to not create contempt towards those that bully others, otherwise I’d become the bully and hatred-recycler myself, which became quite clear within me while watching that documentary which is absolutely recommendable because it’s really not about ‘soccer,’ but about who we’ve become as humanity and hatred in general.

So, after I walked through my discharge of emotions, I realized that this time I wasn’t going to ‘drop the towel’ and go into the usual bashing of films or documentaries or art in general as a silly way to pretend to make any change in the world, because it’s not about that, but about who one is within what we do. And this time I made the decision to use these moments of weakness and not dive into the past-experience of saying ‘there’s no point in this’ and instead said ‘Ok, if no one else is seeing what I see can be done with arts, then I have to be that person that presents what I see is possible with the use of arts in any of their forms.’

In a way I used this weakness and moment of going into an emotional reaction about what I experienced or ‘saw’ in that moment to reassure my position and decision to do my part in arts and use it within the same context that I use these blogs, to process myself, to still walk through the various reflections and ‘meta’ analysis that I end up having while watching a documentary, while interacting with the audience that watches such documentaries and using that whole experience as another way to see where I can fine tune myself, where I am becoming emotional, where I am wanting others to have the exact same ‘realizations’ as I do when watching something, where I am expecting all film makers to do things because they want to ‘change or better the world’ we live in. . . because this is entirely MY desire, my perception, my starting point and I have to learn to embrace people’s different points of view and starting points, because not everyone will approach ‘arts’ as a platform to ‘change the world’ no matter how focused this festival in itself might be geared towards that, each creator has their own starting point.

Another bottom line is: I have to accept that not everyone sees the world or reality the same way I do, and that not everyone will have the same objective as I see within arts, film or any creative endeavor, I cannot ‘force’ others to do it either – nor do I have to go into the hopelessness of ‘there’s not hope for humanity’ if or when seeing that some people might not necessarily ‘care’ in that same way. I actually just saw an interview done with the director I just talked about and I could see how I might have been in fact too quick to judge considering that he seems to be working on similar subjects for his next films, which means that maybe he’s not that ‘great’ with words and explaining his perspectives, but the fact that he is investing his time, money and work on creating documentaries/films about environmental issues is already denoting an interest that even if it doesn’t have a clear purpose, they serve as works to learn to reflect about ourselves, so he explains that in this video:  Sundance 2017 Winner MACHINES Dir Rahul Jain

So, I am now seeing the clarity that I lacked a few hours ago when only getting caught up in the emotional aspect but, I also saw that I didn’t allow myself to go really ‘down’ as I used to in the past and remain in some sort of emotional self-manipulation, but actively made the decision to let it all out, to do some ‘ranting and raving’ for myself which served as an initial platform for me to then be able to start looking at a clear direction for myself within it all and this blog is also a part of that for sure where I don’t claim that there’s absolute clarity in it all, but it does contain some major directives for me to focus on and consider: not expecting others to see things the way I see them, my way is not the ‘right’ way, each one has a different process, not judging a person based on a 10 minute interaction or hearing their words and jumping into conclusions about ‘who they are’, being open to people’s approach and perspectives even if they are not geared to ‘change the world’ type of starting point, be willing to learn from others’ approaches and continuing to find ways to best approach situations like having a person drink next to me where if I am bothered then I have to change the spot and if there’s no other option like it happened today, then I can instead let go of the judgment and focus on whatever I am watching there.

There’s probably some more points for me to open up but for now at least I got some more clarity. I am forgiving myself for having accepted and allowed myself to become emotional and in essence jump into conclusions about other people based on my expectations and my ideas of ‘how things should be’ where I have to instead learn to embrace people, their perspectives, their starting points and learn from them instead of discriminating them because of them not ‘seeing life the same way I do.’

So this is a constructive shame about my  reactions and actions afterward, I didn’t make of it a big deal ‘against others’ though, but I did make it a big deal in the moment within myself, so best thing to do is to realize: ok I got triggered, what is this about, let the emotions out and be determined to walk through it and keep an eye on similar situations from now on, so that I can ground myself back into common sense rather than getting lost and trapped into my own ‘ideas’ of how things should work and be in reality.

Thanks for reading

 

 

 

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