Sunday, October 7, 2007


Analysis of the image "Static"

High resolution image can be found at my website.

This image portrays the concept of involuntary sequestration that can often be found in everyday life. Like the previous image, “The Cage,” this room shows signs of age and decay. The cracked paint, dusty floor and windows, and overall dilapidated feel of the room represent the lifeless effects that sequestration can have on a person. Involuntary sequestration can be the result of oppression and can manifest a fear of exploitation. It can also come about as a result of certain institutions that focus on strict rules that can teach away a person’s authentic self and creativity. It can even come in the form of certain situations people are driven into, through their own doing or outside circumstances.

A central focus in this image is the rocking chair with the wooden doll in it. Of course, dolls are static and can only be controlled by someone else. So, the doll represents someone who is sequestered involuntarily and the rocking chair represents the restricted space of the doll. The light shining through the windows draws the viewer’s attention to this image. As with “The Cage,” this draw towards the light represents the freedom one would have outside sequestration. However, in this scene there is no real contrast of being drawn into an existence outside sequestration and the draw towards a false reality that exists within sequestration. There are no open doors or exits symbolizing clear ways to escape. The reason for this is that in cases of involuntary sequestration an individual has no choice but to be sequestered. Unlike voluntary sequestration, there is nothing appealing which draws a person towards any form of involuntary sequestration. In this case the draw towards freedom is more of a dream-like fantasy one just imagines while being sequestered involuntarily.

There is a sign near the door and it has the word “Eden” written on it. This refers to the Garden of Eden which is usually seen as paradise. This sign can represent the idea that freedom from sequestration is paradise. This Eden that exists outside of being sequestered can come in the form of a physical place, a mental state, or both. Involuntary sequestration isn’t limited to being oppressed by someone, but a person can be sequestered by a state of mind. An example of this would be depression. A person who is depressed has a mood disorder which can disrupt their social functioning and daily activities thus sequestrating them involuntarily.

As stated earlier, involuntary sequestration can be a form of oppression or repression born out of fear. An example of this can be found in the story of Buddha as a child. Buddha, named Siddhartha as a child, was born to a king and queen and as a prince had everything he wanted. Siddhartha had no knowledge of what the world was really like. All he knew was the false reality within the palace, but he was curious about the world outside. His father wanted his son to one day be king, but he had a fear of his son becoming a monk if he saw the world as it really was, and acknowledged the true suffering that existed. Because of this, his father built a magnificent palace for his son, arranged for him to be married, and only allowed healthy and young people inside the palace. His father tried his best to distract Siddhartha and keep him disinterested in the outside world, but Siddhartha wasn’t content being a prince and yearned to know what life was like for others outside the palace. Eventually Siddhartha’s father let him travel to different towns and in his travels Siddhartha saw the suffering that surrounded people as he encountered an old man, a sick man, and a dead man. After seeing the world as it really was and discovering the suffering that he had not known about before, he decided he didn’t want to be a prince anymore and instead wanted to discover a way out of the suffering that he saw. So, he escaped his life of a prince and became a monk to find an answer.

This story has many similarities that can be found in every day life of many individuals who have to deal with those, perhaps even parents or a spouse, who might attempt to restrict the life that a person really wants to lead and in turn restrict who that person really is. Parents may be overprotective and try to dominate a child’s life and choose the direction in which the child’s life will progress. An example of this could be found in a parent choosing the university and career path of a child instead of letting the child explore and discover who they are and what they want to be. The parents may mean well, but in the end this overprotection, this sequestration, can lead to a repressed and false sense of self which discourages the child from discovering their true self and from walking their own path.

Also mentioned in the previous image, “The Cage,” involuntary sequestration can exist within institutions that teach away a person’s creativity and sense of self. These institutions usually focus on strict rules and often don’t allow room for individuality. There is a sense that everyone must conform to a pre-determined pattern. A person can be taught what to think and how to act. Their attitudes can be molded in a way that is against who they truly are. This teaching away of a person’s creativity and individuality can start at an early age, thus not even really stripping away a person’s individuality, but rather not even allowing it to be discovered in the first place. An example where you might find this is in schools or even broadcast through the media. In many ways, the media advertises to us what the ideal life is and often without realizing it most people accept the media’s standard as their own. In reality that “ideal” lifestyle might lead to the most dissatisfying existence an individual could have.

A person’s busy and demanding lifestyle can even strip away their individuality. When a person’s daily life is constantly focused on just getting things done, it’s easy to get into ruts or lifeless routines and drift throughout the day. Sometimes these routines go on for weeks and even months. This can be seen as a form of involuntary sequestration because the individual is not aware of what is happening. A person can become so focused on what they have to get done at the time that they never stop to question or make difficult choices.

It’s harder to escape this form of involuntary sequestration because something like the teaching away of a person’s creativity or individuality may have been going on for several years and to escape it requires the person to start looking at themselves honestly and it requires a new way of thinking.

As stated earlier, involuntary sequestration can come in the form of a mental state. However, unlike a mental disorder or illness, such as depression, a person can sequester themselves through a state of fear. This fear is not instinct that tells a person when there is danger nearby, but a condition that might become continuous and not attached to any specific threat in the environment. This state of fear keeps a person from living their life to the fullest. A common example is a fear of failure. An individual can be afraid to take risks for something they want for their own life because they are afraid things won’t work out. It is easier for some to stay sequestered because it is comfortable and this is where they feel safe. An example of this might be if someone dislikes their job and would rather pursue another career, but doesn’t because of the effort and risks involved. This person might have to go back to school to train for this other career and there might be a fear of not being able to provide for themselves or their family or they fear the lifestyle change they will have to make to achieve this goal. These fears can stop a person from pursuing a career that could vastly enrich their life, and possibly the lives of those around them as well. Escaping this type of sequestration also requires a new way of thinking, thus making it extremely difficult especially if this fear has been present within the individual for a long time.

In the end, no real progress and nothing great can come from a person being sequestered. In this case, life would be like treading water and to a certain degree the individual would be the equivalent of a dead person because there would be no growth or evolution of that individual’s character and no true achievements. There is a lack of individuality and a lost sense of self within such an existence. However, at times it can be beneficial to be sequestered, in order for a person to see who they aren’t so that once they escape they can start to discover who they truly are.

-Jason Godbey

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