THE STORY OF OUR LIVES is a series of photographs of signs that when taken outside the context of their function (and sometimes location) have a dual purpose of telling our story of existence. In other words after we are gone and our culture no longer exists, how would others (or aliens) interpret our lives based on what the signs reveal – supposing aliens decoded and understand our language?
This latest image is a personal favorite: It is simply titled THE STORY OF OUR LIVES #95
This image as taken at a demolition site. I found this sign on what remained of a wall at the site. It’s a fascinating and wonderful little chapter in the story of our lives.
While smoking has been deemed as bad for our health and in some cases has been made illegal as a result – it is in a location that has been destroyed, demolished. The demolition had nothing to do with smoking. This is a perfect metaphor for our lives. Life is fragile and there is more than one thing that can disrupt, tear apart or destroy it. So often we focus on the wrong things. We go to great expense to make things like smoking, abortion, drugs, “assisted suicide” etc illegal. And while those things may destroy our lives as we know it – we actively pursue other methods of destruction – war, income inequality, denial of medical care etc. Is it better to deny a person’s choice of self-destruction in order to insure the destruction of many? That is what is happening in our culture and our world. It is seen in our immigration policies, how we deal with refugees, it is seen in our responses to foreign powers that we have deemed as enemies. It is seen in the laws we pass for our own people.
- Is it better to deny an abortion for a life that does not yet exist only to – after it is born – send that life to war to die?
- Is it better to keep that minimum wage so low in order to help corporations enrich themselves while people cannot afford health care?
- Is it better to deny the right for a person who has chosen to end their life only to ensure ongoing suffering and the slow destruction for that person and their families?
- Is it better to deny people safe harbor because you are afraid – only to have them die at the hands of their own governments?
What makes life so precious is that it is fragile. There are any number of things that can snuff it out in an instant without our help – disease, old age, the environment (poisonous plants, wild animals, accidents, etc)
Two things make life something worthwhile:
- It is limited – we are all mortal – we will all die at some point.
- Choice – we all are born with the ability to choose when and how we will die.
Now this may seem like something of an oversimplification but it is none-the-less true.