carbonbreath

Photogenic loss

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A few months ago, I, for some reason, decided it would be a good idea to permanently get rid of all of my pictures. So I did just that- I deleted everything I had of me, and everywhere it was backed up.

 

I now regret that decision immensely. Gone are photos of some of the most memorable and marking moments of my life, including unique travel destinations and activities. I feel really sad now that those moments are now gone forever, and are only left in my memory.

 

I try to console myself in that I am still young, there are plenty of new experiences to be had, and there is somewhere a lesson in "letting go" in all of this (part of the reason I got rid of them, I think).

 

Alas, if any of you kind bums have any wise words to get me over this loss, my incredibly stupid decision, which has for some reason really been bothering me these last few days, I'd love to hear it.

Edited by carbonbreath
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Whoa, I have such empathy for your pain.  That is a big sacrifice.

 

That just makes me hurt inside, but I am a visual person and a massive picture hound having taken well over 100,000 personal photos and another 50k downloaded for inspiration, humor, etc. 

 

I try and never make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions/situations.  Anything of that nature, I will myself to wait a bit and see how things pan out.

 

Condolences for your loss.

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No condolences here, unless youve also lost your memory. We spend so much time making recordings of things we forget to experience them. Bravo for deleting your photos!

 

In the news I saw some family pay ransom--a fxing ransom--to some thief to get some photo albums back of wedding and kids. I would have told the theif to go f themselves and no mistake. Pic are fun but not worth running into a burning building over.

 

Make memories, not data.

 

:)

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If it's any consolation, most indigenous people of most cultures believe that photographs steal pieces of one's soul.  A prime example of someone who took this belief to heart would be Castaneda -- no one has ever seen a picture that's reliably of his face, he didn't allow taking them for any purposes (except for the passport or some such.)  I didn't know this growing up, but I had an inexplicable aversion to being photographed throughout my most photogenic years (teens and twenties), which of course I regret today.  But who knows -- maybe if I didn't avoid it, I'd be soulless today.  Celebrities who have their pictures taken all the time mostly fare horribly and many die young, while many others exhibit all the symptoms of a classical shamanic "loss of soul."

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Do you like to write?  I think a journal where you go back and ponder those memories might be a way to reclaim the past that you seemed to let go of when you got rid of the photos.  There are so many ways to do this.  I like lots of the ideas put forth in the Progoff Process Journal.  You might first write down just the facts as you remember them, and then perhaps reflect on the meaning they have in your life.  You can "dialog" with important people in your life alive and deceased, and even with events.  This could become a very rich experience of identifying themes in your history and the trajectory of your life.

 

Liminal 

Edited by liminal_luke
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I think you performed one of those instinctive acts of wisdom, that you haven't consciously understood at the time. The photograph is a permanent manifestation of your false identity. Its sheer existence is a threat to your real self, or your soul. This is why you destroyed them. A wiser person would never have allowed the photo to be taken in the first place. Many children are instinctively camera shy.

 

You are now feeling the pain of ego loss, which is the basis of all true renunciation. The benefits of what you have done will only slowly accrue, but in the future you will understand with perfect clarity why you did something so reckless but so brave.

 

Unfortunately, our egoic selves are not only enshrined visually in photographs, but in our relationships with other people, with our jobs, the organisations we associate with.

 

When we lose these the pain and fear is even deeper. Judging by your behaviour with the photos there might come a time when you abruptly sever links with people and things you love.

 

Other people do not act so suddenly, because their instincts aren't so powerful, so they therefore go through a period whee there egoic attachments undergo slow death.

 

All the best to you

Edited by Nikolai1
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Alright I'm gonna say the opposite of most guys in here:

 

1) Your pictures aren't lost. Deleted files can be restored - you just gotta find and pay for the kind of specialist that has the skills. Files can be restored even when magnets have been scrubbed against a harddisk

 

2) My suggestion to you would be to not go to spiritual extremes. Deleting all of your pictures because you want to "destroy" your ego or whatever is in my opinion similar to a medieval Christian monk who neglects his body because he thinks it's sinful. Instead, you can try and understand your need for pictures from the inside out - why do you need them? From which level does the need come? Is it absolutely necessary, or can you transcend it? Can you perhaps even retain the images but relate to the whole thing in a different way? That is in my opinion a more healthy approach to personal and spiritual development.

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What Perceiver says is right on target. 

 

I'd also add sometimes you can use the energy from a mistake as fuel for something good.  ie get a camera and start taking pictures.  Each day start taking some shots.  Document something.  Get some good momentum going, so that maybe in the future you'll find, it all worked out for the best. 

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No condolences here, unless youve also lost your memory. We spend so much time making recordings of things we forget to experience them. Bravo for deleting your photos!

 

In the news I saw some family pay ransom--a fxing ransom--to some thief to get some photo albums back of wedding and kids. I would have told the theif to go f themselves and no mistake. Pic are fun but not worth running into a burning building over.

 

Make memories, not data.

 

:)

 

It is less for the self and more for sharing those memories with others that is teh real loss here.

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slightly off topic'ish.

The curse of the digital camera is, they can hold so many shots that you never print them out.  You get to 870 pics in memory and its too much work and expense.  I've found making making relatively inexpensive books w/ the pictures has been the best way to save memories.  There are many places online from Walgreens, Apple to less expensive places that always have coupons.  Note softcover way cheaper then hard, ofcourse.

 

Once you have a theme, its easy to do the layout and you have a book that lays around the living room and begs to be opened. 

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The important thing here is that the OP understands the fundamental rationality of his actions, especially if the photos really are unrecoverable.

 

In reality it doesn't matter much whether the photos survive or not. The kind of person who has transcended the false egoic self may have cupboards full of photo albums, but he won't have the slightest desire to look at them.

 

An elderly man, sat in his armchair looking at the photos of the times when he was young, when the kids were young is clearly such an inveterate old sinner that nothing could have stopped him from being so. His vulgarity causes hm to open the album; it does not occur to him not to.

 

To take a photo, to document the moment, is always a defence against impermanence. It is a defence against the unbearable transience of eternity. We imagine we take photos for future pleasure, but in most healthy souls that future never comes and the photos get neglected. No, to take a photo is a present moment attempt to assuage a present moment angst.

 

The most effective photos at easing angst include ourselves as subject. Photographic art of say a beautiful landscape is effective for more people though powerfully effective for none. But even the landscape shot tries to fix a moment of beauty unnecessarily. To the healthy soul, beauty is omnipresent and there is no sense or purpose to any kind of photo.

 

The great spiritual teachers of history have always struggled with th all too human desire to capture and fix the eternal. Before the photograph the means was graven art and the eternal was God. To depict God was always viewed as spiritually harmful.

 

In the present day we must confront the same issue. To photograph ourself is sin itself. We must understand the vulgarity that lies behind the desire and overcome it.

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The great spiritual teachers of history have always struggled with th all too human desire to capture and fix the eternal. Before the photograph the means was graven art and the eternal was God. To depict God was always viewed as spiritually harmful.

 

In the present day we must confront the same issue. To photograph ourself is sin itself. We must understand the vulgarity that lies behind the desire and overcome it.

hmnn, how do you take a picture without God in it? 

On a rainy day, having some pictures isn't so bad.  We can be in the present even when viewing the past.  Few things make you look at the world as closely as having a photo safari day.   And when ones list of sins is so long the 'P' section includes making Photos it may be better imo to rip up the list and go by instinct. 

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 The kind of person who has transcended the false egoic self may have cupboards full of photo albums, but he won't have the slightest desire to look at them.

 

Really? I'm not so sure my friend ;-).

 

I know there is a widespread belief that if you go around and do normal stuff like take pictures, desire women or want a new job then you're "trapped in the egoic false self" and so on.

 

I'm not sure that's always true. Whether you're trapped in your egoic self depends on how you relate to it. If you take pictures and sit and stare at them and long for days long gone then yeah, that sounds like egoic behaviour to me. But if you take pictures because you think it's fun, inspiring and it adds a meaningful little extra touch to your life then I'm not sure it constitutes a negative behavioral pattern.

 

There are a lot of seemingly egoic things you can do not because you "need" to or feel helplessly pulled towards them, but because you're manifesting in the world and choose to do them from a ground of intentional choice. You intentionally do them because they add something to the reality that you co-produce. You intentionally do them because you're manifesting in the way that you want to and because they make sense in the moment that is. 

 

I sometimes upload goofy pictures to Facebook with even goofier captions. Why? Because I "need" to and because I cling to them? No, because I am manifesting myself and in that moment I found it be a fun and enriching thing to do.

 

It's never really the thing itself. It's how you relate to the thing.

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I would agree with perceiver here, many folks like talking about destroying ego, and yet don't acknowledge that the idea of destroying ego is perhaps one of the most egotistical ideals a person can think of. "I'm going to transcend so high, that I annihilate my own 'personal identity'." So that the notion of destroying ego is somehow enlightenment because it is a notion of destroying ego... a little shortsighted to say the least.

 

However, I do feel that you (the OP) shouldn't fret too much about this. You haven't lost anything, just photos. If you want to retrieve the memories that are represented in those photos, you got a lot of options that could easily be more useful than photos. Learn to lucid dream or astral project... you wouldn't even have to rely on still-photos. You could relive the entire scenario if you wanted, and this practice in itself is often used as an "enlightenment" vehicle. You get a chance to perhaps revisit things that were traumatic, and free yourself of the trapped force that went into those things. Hell, even with "good" memories, you might find that there was something you missed in those that you could relive and release anything that might've been negative or unsavory with those experiences.

 

It's not the end of the world, and you haven't lost anything. But it wasn't necessarily "needed" in order to transcend anything, unless that's the only way you know how. Primordial exploration favors creativity over dogmatic doctrine any day of the week :) .

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I happen to think the E word (enlightenment or ego, take your pick) is overused in spiritual circles.¬† In my view, there¬īs no need to get rid of photos in order to speed enlightenment or impede the ego.¬† There are worse sins than keeping a beloved photos album or six.¬†

 

Still, there might have been some wisdom behind the impulse to let them go.  I believe old photos can be bad feng shui, a kind of clutter that clogs up our lives.  Keeping them can be a way of trying to hold onto a version of ourselves that no longer exists.  Getting rid of them can be a way of keeping current with ourselves and allowing in new life.

 

Growth happens in spirals. And sometimes, when we¬īre at the apex of a cycle, we¬īll do¬†wise things¬†only to find out later on,¬†at the nadir of that same cycle, that we weren¬īt quite ready to live with the consequences of our previous¬†wisdom.¬† Could this be, in part,¬†I wonder, what happened here?

 

Liminal 

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As another poster said - you can recover most files you've deleted.

 

When you delete something on a hard drive, all that happens is that space is marked as 'deleted' - but the data is still there until something else overwrites it.

 

Have a Google search, in most cases you won't need to pay anyone - just use an app that searches through the 'deleted' space.

Edited by freeform

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