1907, “the action of seeing by means of Hertzian waves or otherwise, what is existing or happening at a place concealed or distant from the observer’s eyes” [OED] –

We saw the Shanghai Circus yesterday. Humans performing at extremes of our species capability. We were thoroughly entertained. The program was a ceaseless embodiment of precision, endurance, strength, concentration and skill, the like of which I have rarely seen.


Yet, I wondered if I was alone in feeling distant from this unimaginably wonderful spectacle. We applauded, oohed and ahed, but yet from afar.

Without first-hand experience that allows us to, at least, metaphorically relate and engage with what enters our field of perception – can we truly appreciate peak performances?

In a world where specialists excellently perform while others audit: Are we increasingly forced to cognize experience as if from a distance? Are we ailing from Television?

I am trying to learn how to do a handstand. It is unimaginably hard. This gave me a better appreciation of my afternoon with the Shanghai Circus. My skill as a member of the audience was still far, far from what the show and the performers deserved.

Maybe I can be better. Engaged learning and an amateur’s willingness to physically try related experiences.

Growing knowledge (of the full body kind) – needs alertness to understand and a bias to experiment and act. Perhaps these help as antidotes. So we don’t live through Television.

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