This thesis roots itself in Romantics. Romantic being defined by Oxford as “characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality”. Most definitions of romantic include the word love or being in a state influenced by love, but then you have to go and find the definition for love as well. And, well, who can define that, really?

This thesis wants the user to ask themselves: How do you perceive your environment? Do you see it at all past an objective sense? If you only see it objectively (i.e. simply a building you pass by or a sidewalk or path you take to class or work), when was the last time you didn’t?

Think back to your childhood, maybe even your early to late teenage years. Did you daydream about a life you never lived? An area unexplored, a sight unseen? This is what the thesis wants to get at. These things all exist, they’re still around you. You just have to “see” them.

Comets, for example, are simply and objectively pieces of rock and metal plummeting to earth and disintegrating through Earth’s atmosphere in a wild ball of flames. Even so, we love to see them. Comets, meteorites, shooting stars, we are entranced by them. We set aside time to drive out and view a meteorite shower, we wait for the special years a comet will pass through our sky (i.e. Halley’s comet), and we are stunned when we see the blink of a “shooting star”.

Shooting stars are simple, but we love them all the same. We romanticize them and see them as beautiful (as much as you can define beautiful) and we treat them specially. And this is but one of the many objects and scenes we do this to. But shooting stars are nearly universally celebrated and romanticized. Maybe (probably) because they are “rare” in relativity and ephemeral in visibility.

So are things more common in life just not as special? Are they just not worth glamorizing? This thesis says no; anything and everything is worth re-imagining and romanticizing. It shouldn’t be a bad thing to live like a child, or to think like a child (for the most part anyway). I think I had much more fun as a kid and playing pretend than I ever did after I “grew up”. Innocence is what gives children and romantics “life”. Innocence believes, it just doesn’t know.

(background: minoru yoneto)


      some pictures i’ve taken over the years.
      there’s no filters, yet they feel so dreamy.
      one was even taken before a typhoon; a true romanticization of the situation



The Passenger Effect is something I thought about recently. I was trying to think about why I stopped taking pictures of the sky in recent years. As soon as I got my first cellphone, the camera roll was always filled with sunsets, fun clouds, fields of grass, and lanscapes I would see while in the car. In the past five years or so though, my camera roll was pretty devoid of any sort of pictures, except for when I would go hiking or was on vacation.

It’s not like I stopped enjoying the sky and taking pictures of things--if anything, I wanted to do more of it. So why didn’t my camera roll reflect that? After some thinking, I realized that I grew up.

By growing up, I don’t really mean growing physically or having a change of heart or a different mindset. I mean more of the boring things that come with growing up. Responsiblities and duties to schools and extra curriculars is one. But what really did it in was learning how to drive and getting a car.

I didn’t get my license or a car until after I had graduated high school, so until that point, I had been a professional passenger in my mom’s car. Being a passenger allowed for me to see the world at a different pace (literally and figuratively). I could take all the pictures I wanted and didn’t risk crashing the car or getting a ticket. I could daydream the entire ride. I could space out. I could pretend like I was in a teenage music video. But I can never do this when I’m driving.

Being a passenger allows for so many thoughts to happen. Whether or not you think is up to you, but just the freedom to do so is much more liberating than you  would expect. There’s so much time to think. The only other times I’ve experienced this as an “adult” in college were times I took public transportation, was walking around, or when I was the passenger in a car.

On the right, a scene from Spirited Away. If Chihiro was driving, I wonder if she (or the viewer) could have appreciated this scene as she did in the movie.


Now that we have an understanding of the Passenger Effect, we can look at (sub/ob)jective perceptions of reality and how this plays into it.

Whether there is a “right” reality or not has always been a topic of debate. What is establshed in philosophy though, is that there is an objective and subjective reality. Though most points of debate are around objective things, subjectivity is arguably closer to human reality than objectivity would ever be. 

Subjectivity is horrendously important when considering the human reality an