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John Berger 1999 wrote that to look is an act of choice p106 That Bergers thought certainly sounds optimistic but after further examination one can realize that in many situations there is not much choice in looking at something or not More often one encounters not choices but alternatives to look at Basically there are two things one can do if he or she does not want to look The first thing one can do is to close his or hers eyes If one is watching a television show and suddenly the particularly disgusting scene is shown one would very probably close his or her eyes for a moment This reaction of closing eyes shows that ones alternative was not to see that disgusting scene The second thing one can do if he or she does not want to look at something is to select another object to look at For instance if one is watching a movie and in the middle of it some annoying detergent commercial is broadcasted one would probably change the channel or even turn the television set off These alternatives of changing the channel or turning the television off depend on how annoying one found the detergent commercial Both of these examples show that there are alternatives among which one can select when he or she does not want to look at something Unfortunately those alternatives are not exactly choices Ones choice was to watch the amusing show or movie Various distractions like disgusting scenes or annoying commercials diverted one from his or hers choice Therefore one was deprived of the choice of seeing exactly what he or she wanted to see One of those for whom the act of looking was not the choice was Frans Hals In fact he was forced to paint the Regents Hals the old pauper did not have any other alternative but to look at them for hours and to paint In return
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