Skip to main content


I first came across the term observer effect in 2001, while watching the popular and critically-acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind, with Russell Crowe playing schizophrenic genius John Forbes Nash.

As a scientific term, specifically in physics, the observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on whatever (or whomever) is being observed. The example classically used is measuring a tire's pressure. The act of inserting a gauge lets out some air and thus alters the value that appears. At the microscopic level, the mere act of examining particles behaving changes the way they interact. In fact, recent research suggests that reality does not even exist until it is measured. Talk about the power of observation!

In a broader sense, we can say that the observer effect refers to the influence of the observer, who can be said to interact with whatever she is looking at. Consider that when you look at a person, a stranger even, and at a distance - say, from across the room or the street - it is inevitable that if you look long enough, the stranger will return your gaze, as if she feels your eyes on her.

Then there is the notion of the evil eye, that a person can look at you with malevolence and cause something bad to happen. Perhaps this is not so superstitious as it seems. Maybe it's more than a clever attempt by charlatans to sell you products to ward off the stranger's ill-intentioned gaze.

And if the evil eye is a demonstrable fact, then the opposite (and a much more benevolent alternative) is also true. If you regard others with loving kindness, you can bring blessings into their lives. Without a word or any action other than resting your gaze on their form, be it family, friend, total stranger or sworn foe. So subtle as to go unnoticed - unless you stare long enough, which will get the person to look right back at you and blow your cover. Which may not be too bad if the stranger in mind is a cutie pie. Though some may say that's simply flirting.

Regarding others with kindness and unconditional love in your heart and a smile in your eyes has a galvanizing force. You become walking sunshine, metaphorically speaking. Talk about making the world a brighter place!

It has been said that the manifest universe is the reflection of the unmanifest Reality, regarding Itself as if in a mirror. So if it is true that you are what you see, it is best to be kind.


Popular posts from this blog


I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…


There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…


This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …