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Work/life balance

July 31st 2014 20:49
What is meant by "balance" in this phrase? I think a moment's thought suggests that the metaphor isn't kitchen scales (ie, you need 50% work and 50% non-work in your life), but may be somewhat older. It may hearken back to something like the four humours -- that there are these four substances in the body, and when one of them predominates (ie, they're out of balance) you get various morbid personalities, or various problems in your life.

You find this pattern of thinking all over the place. So, when Shakespeare says that "time's out of joint", I'd argue it's the same metaphor of natural order, natural balance, and that bad things happen when things are unbalanced. Similarly in eastern thinking -- that there is a correct balance of light/dark, male/female, hot/cold etc. Or in Aristotle -- means between extremes, and different parts to the good life.

So, to paraphrase, "work/life balance" may mean:

-- (1) that there is a particular mixture of work and life, an ideal mixture, that best allows you to flourish in your life generally; or

-- (2) there is a particular mixture that maximally satisfies each area, that leads to the most productivity.

Well, three quick thoughts:

-- (1) the concept of work/life balance has always seemed to have class overtones. Happy little workers. Perhaps a lot of what we mean by "work" is activity that we would not do if we had an alternative. Maybe the truthfully best work/life balance is 0% work and 100% non-work.

-- (2) even assuming that there is some good (how to evaluate?) in having work in your life, why assume that this proportion is the same for everyone? Perhaps some people need more work, and others more non-work.

-- (3) arguments from nature or natural order are inherently suspicious -- just because nature happens to do things a certain way, why should that be the right way?


Centre of frame

June 13th 2014 00:33
In real life, when you look at something, you place it in the centre of your "frame".

In a picture, when the main subject of interest is off-centre, this immediately opens up various possible meanings, effects, if the field of view is interpreted as being a conscious gaze.

For instance: a photo of a person. If they're off-centre, then maybe you're telling the audience, "I, the photographer, am looking at not just that person, but also the environment, or the image as a whole."

Or: "I am also looking at the space around the person." So, in film, it's significant -- it has a different effect -- whether you're filming someone with space in front of them (they're more open), or space behind them (they're more closed off).


Images that hurt

April 30th 2014 03:17
This is a strange idea to suggest or to try to articulate, but I think a good image, whether photo or video, has to hurt at least a little bit.

I don't know how to describe this hurt. It might be a matter of forcing you to look at the world in a different way. It might be that something is so beautiful that for some reason it hurts, or the coincidence between content and form is so perfect that it hurts. It might be that something is so human that it hurts, or so close to home, or so fleeting. It might be a matter of the reality of the events reaching out to you from the image. Or it might be on a more conceptual level, like disturbing some sort of belief or suggesting some idea that unnerves you.

In any case, this "hurt" seems to be a matter of puncturing complacency and comfort, shaking you out of an everyday stream of thinking, and hopefully making you a little more alive -- whether you like or dislike the actual image.


Photo vs video

April 24th 2014 11:31
More compositions work for photo than for video.

Consider something as simple as a level horizon. If you had a video full of Dutch tilts, it would look amateur. If you had a photo album full of tilts, it might look arty

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March 18th 2014 17:57
Some sketchy thoughts…

What is offence? An answer might start with the idea that if I take offence, I'm angry and perhaps want to hurt you. This wouldn't mean that “taking offence” is identical with “getting angry”, but clearly the two are related

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The two elves

March 18th 2014 17:23
The youngest spoke first.

“Saint Nicholas,” he said, keen to please, “let me tell you of the things I’ve seen. I return to you from a far-off land. You have not been there for many years. You would find it much changed. The whole country is a forest of buildings, and for so long have the buildings blocked out the sky that many no longer believe in it. They instead regard talk of sun and stars as charming fictions, and few care to see for themselves

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Loch Ness and skiing

March 17th 2014 00:09
I was watching a Fox Sports program on extreme skiing recently.

At a particular point, a character noted that an unski’d slope is a very rare thing these days

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Dan O'Day and the Art of the Accidental

September 2nd 2013 20:19
A quick thought...

There are many image conventions -- the rule of thirds; having foreground, middle-ground, background in a picture; directing perspective lines towards subjects of interest; having the brighter in the background and the darker in the foreground; framing subjects with other objects, and so forth

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I'm often a little ticked when people hold up "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" as the answer to all our moral problems. I'm ticked because it just seems to me glib and simplistic.

For one problem, consider something like the US and UK government spying on their citizens, where the government justification involves an appeal to utilitarianism and the greatest good. Well, how does the golden rule resolve the conflict of values -- security on the one hand vs privacy and freedom from domination on the other

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Three quick thoughts.

Firstly, is outsourcing labour obviously a bad thing for Australian happiness

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