The eye is the seat of the soul, right? What is the soul behind the all-seeing eyes and what is happening to us in the process? The eye and privacy are two disjointed ideas but stay with me as I ramble here on VERY IMPORTANT issues of privacy and how I connect the two. It is sort of creepy how fast this technology is making us COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT. I'm researching eyes as symbols at the moment so I hope this isn't too esoteric.
Part I: Eyes Looking Out
The painting at right is from the oldest oil paintings, just discovered on the rocky surfaces of caves in Afghanistan. Notice how prominent the eye is depicted, outlined in black. The importance of the eyes as a symbol and how eyes have been historically used in art is interesting. The Turks have the Evil Eye as a blue glass charm to ward off evil and other cultures have had eyes as milagros and charms as well. Looking directly into the eyes of someone, being "shifty-eyed" or the third-eye... But the eyes of someone, of anyone, of me, of you, focus on what is of interest, what is chosen to look at, to see and think about. OK, I digress, but studying the eyes on the wood containers of Egyptian mummies in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC or the Nubian and Egyptian collections in the museum on the campus of Emory University, I saw the same black-outlined eyes and dug a bit for the history of this art and decoration technique. Kohl was used historically for protection of the eyes and vision and is still used as eyeliner today by women in the Middle East, around the Arabian Penninsula It is used by men and women in the desert and it helps against the sun's glare (think of the way football players use this). Johnny Depp wore kohl around his eyes to play the character Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean. What protection, what kohl-ish tool or firewall might you have, for protection?
Think of the roots of the word visionary. Tim Berners-Lee, inventer of the world wide web, was a visionary, and he saw the possibilities of technology and ourselves as totally transparent data-fied beings. But the all-seeing eye and eyes as windows to the soul puts the idea of eyes as both entries into our inner soul and self and our window entry out to the world. It is really a two-way thing but the barrier between the two is being demolished, changed, altered via technology and this is shifting our culture. This mind's eye, the third eye, might be the important eye of the future.
Our mind's eye will no longer need to determine time or direction by looking outward to the natural world. Instead, we can look outward to technology that can posit our place, geographically and socially. How convenient, these gadgets that can do our sensing and seeing for us.
But this is also shifting ourselves. How will this change our perspective? How will this change us? We will want the conveniences and we will pay to participate.