An Audience of One

In today’s day and age of social media, the need for likes, success and acceptance, I think that most would be hard-pressed to find people who actually live the idea that, sometimes life is about following what you truly believe in at any cost. For me personally, the process, that point of no return, or at least a hint of it, started when I was about 30. Over the next couple of years I would devour just about every little piece of “self-help” that I could get my hands on, hoping to learn about my demons, understand them and miraculously “find” myself. I even did a stint with a counsellor, a wonderful woman, great listener, filled with compassion and empathy.

At 60, my hunger for understanding continues with a somewhat hidden smirk, that of the kid with the keys to the candy shop.

As Socrates put it: An unexamined life is not worth living. Carl Jung, perhaps less brutal, wrote: Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Jung then went on to say:

The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.

I have spent almost my entire life alone with the exception of a few years married to a woman far more special than my once young heart allowed me to see. True loneliness however, is not an end product of being alone. As Jung  put it:

Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important.

Personally, I believe that the most important thing that anyone can do in one’s lifetime is to comb through their soul for understanding, identify the why’s of their actions, understand their fears, act on solving what they are capable of and accept and be at peace with their limitations. This does not mean that I am without fear or demons. They are constants of life. The direction of a boat however, is perhaps better understood if one has at least some knowledge of the winds, currents and terrain and of course the boat itself.

Out of all the knowledge of mankind, self-knowledge is by far the most important. Without it, there is no authentic self. Without it, I would not have sacrificed so much to do what I love, photographs and words.

Rick Carroll


01.17.2016 - Ottawa
01.17.2016 – Ottawa

I’ve always loved the idea that we are all cut from the same cloth and although generalizations are typically seen as a ” no no”, I believe that most people would feel uncomfortable in posting a photograph such as this of themselves.

When I took this photograph a few years ago, I was 57. Today at 60, I continue to see life through the eyes of a twenty year old and the magic never escapes me.

My intent with this photograph was simply to post it without shame. Shame is such a corrosive element in life and something that I’ve always had a lot of contempt for. We should never be ashamed of who we are.

As such, this photograph is nothing more than a cover of a book you haven’t read.

Rick Carroll