Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Big Picture

I have always been the kind of person that pays a lot more attention to details rather than the big picture. The breathetaking Blue Lagoon of Iceland before me and I could not help but notice how the person next to me kept her eyes closed in front of such splendor. Surrounded by thousands of party people at a club in Ibiza, my eyes wandered to the lonesome woman cleaning up the broken glasses on the floor. When all eyes were on the glorious sunrise at the beach in Boracay, Philippines, my focus was on a child's tiny footsteps that were about to get washed away by the waves. During a Raul Midon concert a few years ago, I half-smiled when I suddenly saw this man touch his wife's hand. And each time I get to watch a film, I have the tendency to spot the people who stand in the background rather than get caught up in the two protagonists walking into the sunset. Such things, little details, mostly unimportant and probably unnoticeable by the majority...

Nevertheless, these so-called inconsequential incidents or surroundings -- that one would normally overlook or even completely ignore -- always deemed to be more intriguing and fascinating for me to watch. Naturally, it does not imply that I do not appreciate the magnificent spectacle or that I totally miss the point. In fact, I am fiercely convinced that pinning down individual elements has the opposite effect: it is by looking "away" from the big picture and detecting these particular facets that make the picture... a big picture. All these times I had the privilege to stare at such miraculous sights and live poignant moments, I knew that my feelings at that time were not only pure and untouchable; but more than anything, I was also aware that these emotions would always only be ephemeral. Heart-rending, maybe, but simultaneously, the fact that it remains momentary marks the beauty of it all: it is the passion you feel -- fleeting, but untarnished. It is the high you reach -- one that some people search for their entire life, and manage to experience only too seldom. "The beauty of this day doesn't depend on its lasting forever." ( 

So I see details that assist to the big picture: I remember the people I will never meet again, I remember the ones who work very hard on keeping the big picture a clean one, I remember that this state of euphoria will wash away with time, I remember that love transcends in music and evidently, I will always remember those who, like I, often just stand in the background and observe. It is human nature to put one's heart into the big picture alone. Yet the reason why everything in this world becomes so extraordinary is indubitably linked to the details that we are, in fact, prone to pay no heed to. For instance, a likely situation is the typical tourist who goes through the wondrous paintings of a museum in a quantitative way i.e. just to have a quick look at them; instead of staying still for a while in order to study the details of, perhaps, one sole painting. For all one knows, it is only due to time restriction and s/he wants to make the most out of his/her visit. But most times, one does not even go into details simply because the belief that prevails is that only the big picture matters: sadly, one surely forgets that this masterpiece tells a great story, that includes qualities as well as flaws -- and in my opinion, one must take the time because those details are far more interesting to explore than looking at the big picture alone

Certainly, I am the kind of person who perpetually falls in love with details, everyday, with everything. Thus, this philosophy also applies to the people that cross my path. Not only do I look into peculiar details of their physical features, I pay close attention to their reaction in different situations, I might even discern their sense for fashion; but most importantly, I do not dare forget that there will always be so much more to someone than the big picture s/he exposes (or hides, for that matter). 

To tell the truth, I believe one cannot even talk about a "big picture" in regards to characterizing someone. Indeed, when it comes to people, it is common that one also relies on that person's reputation when s/he attempts to paint his/her picture. Thus, many think they know it all. It is a mistake -- even unfair -- to act this way because one sincerely needs to dig deeper in order to get to know or judge someone. One should be sharp-eyed, one should try to notice the less striking assets, one should turn his eyes "away" from the big picture and as an alternative, show more interest in the inner surroundings. There are details one would fall in love with and of course, some that will not please -- but characteristics are key figures and nobody has the right to judge a person based solely on so-called bad details. Once again, I am assured that all facets are extremely important -- not so that one could eventually paint a near-perfect picture of a person, but so that people must grasp that , in reality, there is no such thing as reputation -- whether good or bad. It is only as real as one wants it to be: in the end, one should not even bother or care about his/her "big picture" as much as people tend to do nowadays. People are not big pictures, they are details. Finally, I know that each person is a masterpiece: one must not forget that this work of art tells a story, a great one, that includes qualities as well as flaws -- and one must take the time because exploring those details is truly far more interesting than looking at the big picture as a whole. 

In conclusion, I cannot deny that, in a number of situations, it is much better -- easier and faster -- to look at the big picture instead of putting emphasis on little details: one does get a good overview. But to really appreciate beauty or become more tolerant towards others and also oneself, one must indeed pay attention to the details that assist to the magnum opus -- whether we're talking about a scenery, a feeling, a moment and in particular, a person. In the end, big pictures are made but of thousand details: little ones, perfect ones, terrible ones, most of them are important, some a little less and others  may require a magnifying glass... But this is all up to you to explore and you do not want to miss a thing. So why not look into details for a change?