It’s not the goal; it’s the experience achieved in pursuing it

Isn’t that just another way to say, “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey”?

Or, “The means are the end”?

Sure. But like any idea experienced firsthand, it feels new when it becomes real in your life. This one hit me while discussing photography with a practitioner of the trade from Hong Kong who was visiting NYC.

Becoming a machine-assisted observer creating records of an event alters my interpretation and understanding of, and relation to, the subject (science’s side of the story: observer effect).

Though I take great pride and joy out of those observations, I am becoming increasingly aware of this: The output of what I do is not of prime importance. By output, I mean the actual things or ideas that I create. For example, the photographs that emerge out of the process of observing others with a camera.

However, the way of living and understanding life that is created by what I do is of prime importance.

Taking pics gives you a perspective on life. So does making movies. Or studying lab results. It’s a window through which we interpret not just personal projects, but the deeper meaning of life itself. That’s why many people say they are their profession even when they are asked what they do. (“What do you do?” / “I’m a journalist.”)

The understanding of life, communicated through the cultural objects created during my particular practice of record-keeping, is where it’s at.

Now how to get there?

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