“Just Over the Net to Ever Everland”

volleyballnet
Apple iphone 4 shot within Instagram & processed within Aviary & Camera+ Volleyball Net and Cloud
You can follow my Instagram feed @themindfuleye. I post an average of two shots a day.

Being censored by Mark Hobson in the comment thread of this post is one thing (my first time in over a decade of being online). Being censored and having your censor use innuendo to imply that the writing in your comment falls into a category of speech so over the top that he has no choice but to censor you….and then to have a commenter on the same blog comment as if they know what the censored comment contains…..it just all adds up to twilight zone material and to say the least flies in the face of the “vigorous encouragement for lively discussion” mentioned in the sidebar of Mark’s blog, unless what is meant by “lively discussion” is talking to yourself and anyone else who agrees with you. I’m not one for pissing matches because they waste time but in my whole life, as a matter of principle, I have stood up for myself. Its ultimately the innuendo that my censored post is/was somehow indecent that I am dealing with here.

If ad hominem is what Mark is worried about then why was this comment published? Scroll up to Zed E.’s comment when you land on the page. Once you read that, which is brutal in terms of how personally derogatory it becomes, it totally defies belief that my comment was censored because it is in the top three or four worst in the ad hominem department.

And if sermonizing is what Mark is worried about then we would possibly have the most hilarious case of the pot calling the kettle black in the history of photo blogging.

And if Mark was so worried about protecting you from my mention of Byron Katie and four questions based in Socratic inquiry….then he could have emailed me and asked me to remove that part. But he didn’t. He censored my post wholesale. ( Actually all he had to do was just reply to an email I sent him because, instead of assuming I had been censored after my comment didn’t show up for days, I emailed Mark out of courtesy, to ask if I needed to post my reply on my own blog….that email was ignored.)

If Mark is protecting himself from being “pissed off” and not being able to deal with it when people question and challenge his positions (speaking of deep breathing and whistling happy tunes) that is his business and its his blog….but this is my blog…..a blog where the only blocking of comments that has ever been done has been effected by the WordPress spam filter. Philosophically attacking the ideas found in someone’s teaching, then censoring their response and then attacking them again based on innuendo about the censored response….. it stoops to a level of discourse so indecent and ridiculously unfair that as Zed noted….you have to laugh.

Laughter notwithstanding and in fairness to me (since the fairness concept and the concept of being able to “take the heat in the kitchen” seems to be completely lost on Mark) I share the censored comment below. Then the community of photographers can decide if….. in the context of Mark’s writing overall, the context of the post to which I was responding (a post that specifically addressed me and my teaching) and in the context of previous comments that Mark has allowed…… that I deserve to be silenced and slurred by innuendo.

Fortunately for me when I take the time to write something this long I save it – otherwise it would just be my word against Mark’s. As it stands it is what I actually posted vs. what Mark censored and then implied that I posted. (Links are mine and have been added for context).

“Was it something I said in a comment or two?

In all seriousness, I greatly appreciate the link to my article “The Myth of Talent”. The thing I love most about this post is your obvious belief in Hugo and Aaron. That support goes straight to the reality of the research that has been done on the genesis of human greatness (or what gets recognized or labeled as talent).

In my writing and teaching there are several reasons why (listed below) I diminish the notion of talent (innate ability) being important….especially in the area of the arts.

1) Belief that talent is a birthright, which is largely predictive of human greatness, can stop people from even attempting something new – even when the activity is on their list of most desired actions. Or in other words for many people beliefs about talent are extremely limiting, moving people away from the expression of their highest self. They buy into the wrong headed idea that their fate or their performance in any area is mostly tied to a predetermined birthright. Belief in talent also potentially discourages the willingness to be wrong and a willingness to be wrong is an absolute must for those who interested in evolving and growing.

2) The professional experts who study human performance for a living also diminish the role of talent or innate ability (IQ included, which I mention specifically because of your “walking and chewing gum comment”) as a determining factor in the genesis of human greatness . And fortunately their research includes a sample that is much bigger and more objective than your own research sample which as of now includes yourself, your son, and your grandson. Even a cursory search on this subject reveals the truth of the latest research on human performance, greatness, and what we assume is talent in any endeavor.

3) My own experience….both personally (photography, guitar and singing) and as a teacher.

4) The last and most profound reason I diminish the notion of talent is not even directly addressed in my article “The Myth of Talent”. Its indirectly suggested. But in my workshops I put a very fine point on this. The determination of talent in the arts is subjective. There is no standardized test or contest with an objectively verified winner to determine what is great art. A trip to any number of galleries or museums over any given period of time will make this obvious. Great art is in the eye (or ear in the case of music) of the beholder. Period
You made that point painfully obvious in your own attempt at a description of talent in the context of photography and relative to your extremely small research sample. You say the merely skilled could gain widespread recognition. You go on to mention widespread recognition as evidence that *Aaron is a talent. Huh ???

Following your line of thought in the essay – you either 1) must be born Hobson, 2) be anointed by Hobson, or 3) have some something or other which is “akin to a crack in the pavement relative to the grand canyon” etc., etc., ….wait a minute… to quote you let me “get off that train of thought” because my extreme bias and extreme ambiguity detectors are engaged and ringing loudly.

*(As an aside I must say that while your support of Aaron (I enjoy his work too) is highly admirable the thing that has always been totally ironic to me is that the work that landed him recognition is classically beautiful and dramatic in all the ways that you often deride here on your blog….just one of many examples of how convoluted the “thinking out loud” gets in your writings on the art of photography.)

In areas of human endeavor where top performers can be objectively identified (chess masters, golfers, etc.) the research shows that innate ability is very low on the list of determining factors. Take a chess master outside of the game of chess and put them in a new situation or game where memory and spatial recognition of pattern is required (two of many “talents” that chess masters were postulated to have) and guess what….they fail miserably….. they do no better than other beginners at the same game. Their “talent” is game specific and closely tied to other enabling factors. What is highest on this list of enabling factors according to the research of human behavioral experts?….

A supportive environment for personal growth (which makes Aaron and Hugo lucky since you believe in their Hobsonian birthright to talent but according to your stated belief about talent in general not so good for the great “unwashed”, not born Hobson, that visit your blog.) And its not the physical support that matters (money, supplies, etc.) nearly as much as the metaphysical support of a belief system that fosters belief and faith in one’s self. Which is exactly why I teach from a place of truly believing without reservation in my students potential to transform their lives based on things that ARE within their control.

Second most important is conscious practice ….which is practice with a purpose where improvement can be objectively identified.

The third most important factor is motivation or drive which is still the least understood.

Considering that you can’t even come close to objectively defining what talent is when it comes to photography how can you know that you or anyone else is talented? And if you truly believe that your abilities are predetermined and preternatural, beyond self promotion, what would be the point of discussing your way of seeing vs. another? Its akin to an orange touting the fact that it is orange relative to the color of an apple. Speaking of Homer Simpson and the “Doh” moment please don’t tell us as you have before in defending your thoughts that its your opinion and that you are entitled to your opinion on your blog. That’s a given of which we don’t need to be reminded. Just because it is your opinion (just like saying you can’t make abstract art with a camera) doesn’t mean that it can’t be a limiting thought process and/or disconnected from reality.

For anyone reading this who is interested in something besides predetermination and wants to go past your current limits I encourage you to spend some time as an artist with Byron Katie’s “The Work”. Just google it. The information is free. “The Work” represents a simple but extremely powerful metaphysical system of questions that lead to identifying judgmental and limiting beliefs and replacing them with thoughts which are expansive, transformative and more closely connected with what is true. Its a great tool for becoming more creative in any area of your life. Your resistance to asking and answering the simple questions contained in the work is most likely in direct proportion to your ego and how closed your mind has become due to limiting beliefs that have played in your thoughts unchecked for a very, very long time. Being open is the number one hallmark of truly creative people who continue to evolve and grow. Being open involves genuinely questioning yourself and the world around you and being open to where the answers lead instead of pontificating, reacting and defending yourself by only paying attention to the world when it supports your own bias and defending yourself by making up stories about the future and other people which are not true….Craig”

P.S. This postscript is not to the comment in question. Its to this post.

Mark implies that I am guilty of an unfair personal attack but in this very post suggests that Byron Katie is the leader of a cult….and thus indirectly implies that I am linking people to a cult. Cults are often based in religion of which Byron Katie has no affiliation whatsoever. “The Work” of Byron Katie is a simple system of four metaphysical questions based in Socratic inquiry with a turn around exercise at the end of the questions that is a powerful tool for becoming more creative. Unlike cult practices where large sums of money are usually charged for secret information or the information can only be distributed by cult indoctrinated members the questions contained within “The Work” are openly available, free and anyone can use the questions on their own as a framework for examining limiting thoughts. To imply that Byron Katie is running a cult or I am linking to one is not only unfair…. its simply wrong. She does teach workshops which are attended on a voluntary basis by adults….. and oh the horror…. she charges for them. If that makes you a cult leader then I proudly qualify as one. When you google her, of course you find the cult accusations. Google anyone famous in the metaphysical self help world and you will find the same. Its an easy way for institutions (the church and the AMA chief among them) and individuals who don’t like questions to demonize someone who is encouraging people to self reflect.

Since you brought the cult label to the table Mark you might find it interesting to know that silencing opposition is one of the attributes of cult leaders.

To put a very fine point on it…. I have never taken a Byron Katie workshop, or purchased anything published by her. I have no affiliation with her. I do have gratitude for her free system of self inquiry. Unlike you Mark I’m OK pointing people to her…. I trust that they don’t need me to protect them from their own choices. If the average person can survive thousands of hours of the mind control of the media and of the advertising of industry I believe they will be able to handle a few simple questions in the self reflection / self awareness department.

And finally very good news for you Mark ….. I won’t be posting anymore challenging comments to your blog. You are officially safe from me. It will all be OK. You absolutely will not have to ever again protect yourself and your followers from me and my “in the top three or four” worst comments ever, my awful ad hominem remarks, my brutal sermonizing, my spamming and my cult affiliations.

You can rant on about whatever you want and make any claims you want without any questions or disagreement from me ….. whistle a happy tune indeed :)

This entry was written by Craig , posted on Tuesday December 11 2012at 12:12 am , filed under Beach, Black and White, Instagram, Landscape, Savannah, Tybee Island, iphone photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

13 Responses to ““Just Over the Net to Ever Everland””

  • Sam Gray says:

    Well stated, Craig!
    I stand with great pride with you on this one!

    Peace & Love with Sharing
    Sam

  • Craig,
    Great to read you! Isn’t it so, that people who think talent is something that only some people have, are actually afraid of understanding the power of belief and maybe are even more afraid of accepting to be fully responsible for the way they (we all) perceive their world?

    How often I see craftsmanship being mistaken as talent… and this most often happens with people that also misunderstand creativity as applying craftsmanship to known matters.

    I think creativity sometimes requires guts and the willingness to be afraid, lost, uneasy… again, states that makes many one to falter and go back to more work on the craftsmanship. ;)

    All the best,
    Roland

  • Craig says:

    Hey Sam and Roland,

    Thank you for being here and thank you for the kind words of support.

    I love! your comment Roland about getting lost and responding with practice. I totally agree with you that the trick is to keep getting “lost” in the service of our dreams. To me getting lost is being willing to go to a new place where reinventing and expanding are required to travel the territory…..being in a dynamic relationship with reality/ nature instead of hiding from it. Getting lost can happen by accident or can be a conscious choice.

    In the last four years my belief in talent has been diminished even further. I did my first open mic four years ago. At the time I had some confidence in my guitar playing. I had been playing guitar for 30 years and had not only developed skills….I had developed a style of playing that was my own. On the contrary I almost never sang and was literally terrified of singing in front of anyone….much less in a public place in front of an audience. To say the least my singing was terrible in the beginning of my open mic experiences. I did what beginners do. I had no idea how to use my voice as an instrument. I had no idea that the mic itself was an instrument that I had to learn how to play. I was afraid and knew that my singing was the weak link in my performance so I stayed off of the mic, didn’t project and didn’t allow myself to feel the emotion of the song.

    For three years straight performing at open mics became a very important part of not only my creative life…. it became a practice that was extremely important to me as a teacher. In the last five years my teaching has veered more and more into the territory of helping people go past limits. To feel good about challenging others to do this I knew I needed to have some area in my life as an artist where I was way out of my comfort zone.

    During that first year of doing open mics I had more than one person try to move me away from singing. I can remember sitting at a bar with a professional musician who tried to soften the blow of telling me how bad my singing was by telling me I was a good acoustic guitar player :)

    Just like all art, whether a singer is technically great or not, may have little or nothing to do with whether a person likes your singing voice. We could go on a continuum from Bob Dylan to Norah Jones…. I love both singers voices for different reasons…Dylan’s for the overwhelming beauty of his poetry and message….Norah Jones for the overwhelming beauty of the voice itself. I say that as a caveat to the rest of my story about singing.

    After that first year of singing poorly two things happened. First, I started to get desensitized to my fear response of playing and singing in public. I got a little confidence coupled with a slightly better understanding of the microphone. And then something very profound happened. A long time professional musician, instead of telling my singing was poor told me it could be a lot better. He got practical and told me how. He gave me some simple vocal excercises and explained to me in a way that I could understand how the voice produces sound and how I could use my body in a different way to have more pitch control and more vocal power overall….. a turning point. I went from feeling trapped into the mode of singing poorly to 1) believing I could improve 2) and then taking steps to do so.

    This is why it is incredibly important who we surround ourselves with, who we listen to, and whether or not we ever challenge or own limiting beliefs. Evolving and growing begins with a conscious thought (belief) that it is even possible.

    My singing still has an Enormous amount of room for improvement. And whether I am any good as a singer or not is ultimately up to the people that hear me singing. I now run a couple of open mics / jams. I also in the last few months have started playing a regular sideman gig with my dear friend and amazing singer/ songwriter Eric Britt. And in the last six months complete strangers have told me how much they enjoy my singing without mentioning my guitar playing or the songs…something I literally could not have even imagined four years ago. Please don’t get me wrong…. with my own ears I hardly think I am even a good singer in the technical sense of singing. But I know I have made great strides in that area of my music. I am more and more “finding” my voice. And next year high on my list of goals for self improvement is developing my voice even further. I plan on taking vocal lessons for the first time in my life.

    What is talent?….who cares… get on with being the things you love …you are the only one that is requiring yourself, to even get started, to be good or great enough. Good and great come from having the courage to be terrible. And if you never practice anything anymore as a beginner your courage will whither. If you want a different outcome besides terrible then get off your ass, take the risks, and work!!! with a clear goal in mind so that next time you will be better prepared, have more confidence, and have a body that works with you instead of against you because it has been informed with the wisdom of your practice ….. as far as naysayers…. unless they offer helpful advice…they are just another “not yet”… Thanks again Sam and Roland….Craig

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  • wnor says:

    My respect for you as a photographer, musician and human being has just become stronger than ever. Take it all the way to the top, my friend.

  • Craig says:

    Hey Wes,

    Thanks for being here and thank you for the generous words of support… the ghost town better get ready… the Big Easy too! ….Craig

  • tonebytone says:

    Oh, Craig, please know that many people think the way you do and just because someone else who happens to work and teach in the same field as you do, has a different opinion about how the way things should be done, approached or whatever, doesn’t denigrate what you believe in and how you approach your work and teaching. BUT, it’s the way that people who differ with each other approach their differences that counts in the long run.

    If Mark wants to try to sully your name, it means he’s feeling something lacking within himself. Any time any one criticizes anyone else, it means the criticizer doesn’t feel good about something within – and so projects this onto others.

    I went to a lecture by an art professor yesterday. Mel Leipzig has been teaching art at my local community college for 45 years. He’s 77 and will retire from teaching next June. All he wants to do with the rest of his life is paint. His painting are gorgeous, realistic within a certain parameter, and command prices well over $10,000 each! They are acrylics, which some people don’t like, because “real” artists use oils, lol.

    He went to school under the likes of Joseph Albers and others when “realism” was a dirty word. But altho Mel respects Albers and his work, he disagreed with the approach that only one type of art was permissible and any who created other types of art were just Neanderthals.

    There was/is the question of perspective. Some artists lambast other artists who don’t agree with their views on perspective, and so on. Mel looked back over his career as both a teacher and a painter and told us about some of the broiling controversies in the art world. He’s for allowing others to have their points of view, because all of us see differently. He just asks that other artists treat each other’s differences with respect. Craig, I know you and he would have a great time sharing ideas and “perspectives”.

    So my advice to what Mark has said is to just realize that his words will reverberate back onto him – and they won’t hurt you at all – among the people who really really count!

    And I’m not going to read Mark’s remarks, but in my humble opinion, it’d be a waste of time.

    Hugs,
    Flo

  • Craig says:

    Hey Flo,

    Thank you for the words of wisdom and the support. Greatly appreciated…..Craig

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  • rdouglas says:

    I feel ideally we should be both critical and open-minded. To deny either is to deny our inner nature. To let one side dominate completely is possibly a mistake.

    For me, to consider censoring anything, the content in question must be so offensive to multiple people that the content must do some irreparable harm — harm which supersedes the rights of the individual through ongoing damage it does to the many. I have a hard time thinking of any cases for censorship at the present time. There may be justification for censoring some forms of hate speech, such as calls for genocide, or directly harmful speech such as the common law example of yelling “fire” in a crowded building (assuming that yelling would create a strong like hood of people being trampled, which is not obviously the case in modern times). Although, I tend to lean towards no censorship entirely. Ideas like hate speech usually evolve to create their own form of self-censorship (or more accurately equal and opposite counter speech) over time without any intermediary action taking place.

    That said, I have deleted my own posts on occaison if I thought my comment was too spontaneous and not well-thought out. It is much less frustrating for me than devising a correction.

    I would also consider deleting user posts to my photo blog, which I use as a promotional vehicle, if it did irreparable harm to my goals as a photographer. I have had a couple unnecessary and slightly sarcastic posts to my blogger account, but have kept them in place. I don’t think the benefit of deleting the post was that great relative to the idea that casually deleting posts may discourage the open nature of people passing through and commenting to pictures, etc.

    From what I know, I can’t think of any reason something you could say would be cause for censorship. The Internet sets up a potential for constructing a social context where we only speak with people who share all the same views and always agree. If we only talk and listen to people who completely share our views, we won’t learn anything.

  • Craig says:

    Thank you Randy for the very thoughtful comment…..Craig

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