I’m taking a risk here by potentially admitting to a bizarre fetish. I want to write about it because it’s been on my mind, and I think that it’s something not unique to me. Perhaps it’s something we don’t speak of, and perhaps it’s something of which we’re probably not even aware.
I like to watch. Don’t get the wrong idea – nothing vulgar here. People getting haircuts, applying makeup, massages, cooking, painting, quiet repetitive actions. They put me in a trace-like state. Sounds weird, but I would almost rather watch a massage than have one myself. During a massage, my mind races — what should I focus on, what does the masseuse think of me, how do I relax, what am I supposed to be feeling. When you observe from the outside, the perceived pressure and stress are non-existent. It’s a kind of meditation.
Living vicariously is part of our way of life. Reality TV, celebrity gossip, the movies, even reading novels, investing in children’s and friends’ dreams as much as or more than our own — we all have tremendous experience in falling into other worlds. Daydreams. Escapism. Living through others. And I don’t think these are necessarily all unhealthy delusions.
The worlds in our minds may be a direct consequence of a uniquely human phenomenon — our compassion. The ability to take upon ourselves another person’s situation and emotions, sharing their experiences, practically succeeding in walking in another person’s shoes, is in itself an extraordinary thing if you really think about it. Our compassion and sympathy lead us to sacrifice ourselves, help one another, act for a greater good. This ability to share burdens seems to have a positive flip-side — daydreaming. Our daydreams, a related, pleasurable ability, I think, give us that wonderful opportunity to live out our dreams and fantasies in ways we may never be able to achieve in our everyday lives. My ability to imagine myself in the place of another who is getting their hair cut must really be an act of some advanced mental acrobatics.
I would kill to lead the first manned mission to mars — but we all know how likely that is. Imagination is also the source of innovation. Something else to ponder. How incredible it is we can hurl our brains about.
So, in the spirit of my admission, here is a video I stumbled upon. Don’t laugh, OK? As pleasurable as this massage is to watch, at least for me, you can also learn valuable anti-aging tips. Enjoy!