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Why You Were Born
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Why You Were Born [Kindle Edition]

Jerry Downs

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Product Description

Product Description

A book about remembering what we knew as children, why it was important to forget and how great it is to remember.

I’m Dewitt Jones. I’ve made my living as a National Geographic photographer wandering around the globe seeing all kinds of wonderful places and meeting all kinds of extraordinary people. One of the most extraordinary is Jerry Downs. Actually, I first met Jerry on Facebook. I kept seeing his quirky, positive images and wondering, “Who is this guy?” It felt like we were twin brothers from different mothers. Perhaps we are. We certainly have the same philosophy of celebrating what’s RIGHT with the world. Well, Jerry and I have spent lots of time together—photographing, talking. And he’s just like his photos. He’s like a kid. He finds beauty everywhere. He is full of wonder. Jerry’s new book is wonder-full. It will make you cry—sometimes because it’s so real and poignant, sometimes because you’re just laughing so hard. It’s beautiful. Everyone should read it. More than once. The world really needs this book.

About the Author

Jerry Downs is an artist, photographer and writer who lives 10 miles North of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Rafael, California. His work has appeared throughout the world in books, magazines and museums. He was born the 5th of 11 children, had a horrible time in school and spent most of his life living hand to mouth trying to make a living and make sense of why he was born. Eventually he stopped trying so hard. Everything that has happened in his life has helped him understand that life is a creative act and joy is the only measure of success. He’s happy to be alive and enormously appreciative that anything exists at all.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7834 KB
  • Publisher: Jerry Downs (10 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KY44CLU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound Life Transforming Experience! 21 July 2014
By Morgine - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I wish I could give it 6 stars! I could write pages and pages about how Profound this book is! It begins with the title of the book. At five years told, Jerry Downs took his father’s double edge Gillette razor out of the medicine chest and made a blood oath to himself. With real blood dripping from his cut fingers, he said to himself: ”I, Jerry Vincent Downs, promise with all my heart, promise to find a way when I grow up, to tell adults what they have forgotten about being a kid. I promise to find a way to remind them why they were born.” In this book he is keeping that promise!

He had a challenging childhood due to the special way he learned and absorbed life, unlike his other friends in school. This got him in trouble, simply because most adults around him did not have his special “perspective” on life! One which rarely left him as he grew into adulthood. He was turned down by galleries simply because he did not “specialize” in one thing, like: nature, buildings, people, animals, and so on. Like many of the great teachers of the past and present, he is an “original thinker”! This book has been so affirming to me, one of those people who rarely fits in and inspires me to keep trying new things!!

Excerpt:” I get it now. I can see why it was important to forget what we knew as children, what we knew before we were born. If we weren’t able to forget our connection we would never be able to make the connection on our own and there would be nothing new under the sun. If we knew it all, there would be no reason to know anything. Uncertainty and chaos are the nursery for every new thought as well as every star. We did it because we are the eyes, nose, and voice of the Universe. We have hands so the Universe can have a way to hold itself and have a way to keep in touch with It’s own creation. Our senses are the way the Universe makes sense of Itself. Every separation defines the new connection. Every border, between people, nations, the past and the future, separates us, and, it also defines where we touch.

If we want the world to be wonderful we have to be full of wonder. And, the truth is, even wonder doesn’t last. Repetition habituates it into known knowledge and we are off on to discovering something new. …...I don’t remember what movie I saw that night, but I will always remember the scene of me sitting on the stairs having the flash of understanding that it’s not important to walk around in awe all the time, that it’s just nice to remember, every once in a while, that I have the choice, the option, to remember the magnitude of the miracle of being alive.”

We all read from a different perspective. For me, I cannot say enough about the incredible depth and breadth this book covers. As DeWitt Jones, a world renown National Geographic photographer says on the back cover in his closing remarks: “It’s beautiful. Everyone should read it. More than once. The world really needs to read this book.” I for one, certainly would agree! (I note I have the Hardbound copy.)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Esmée La Fleur - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading the stories that Mr. Downs shares in his thought provoking book. Mr. Downs lives with a form of visual hypersensitivity, similar to what affects many people diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome. When he looks at things in his environment, they appear to him in 10 times the detail as the average person sees them. As a child, he found this to be like living in Heaven on Earth, but as an adult, he said it was more like living in Hell.

Mr.Down's perception of the world understandably created sensory overload, making it hard for him to function normally in this world. However, Mr. Down's developed his own form of "therapy" to help him cope with his overwhelming reality through the artistic practice of creating pictorial collages. It was one of the most powerful means he discovered for focusing and calming his mind, and he has spent 12+ hours a day for months at a time fashioning his unique masterpieces.

As a long time student of anthropology, I have come to learn that one of the things that makes us "human" is our strong desire to give meaning to our life experiences. We are essentially "meaning-makers" who love to fashion stories and weave connections that help us to make sense of our varied life experiences. Mr. Downs has done this in a very tangible way through his collage creations by taking over a thousand images and arranging them in a manner that tells a complex and meaningful story about the joy of living in this beautiful world.

Through his personal stories of helping to raise his younger siblings, his relationship with his special friend Carl, and the challenges he has faced as a visually hypersensitive individual, Mr. Downs makes the case for WHY YOU WERE BORN in a very vivid and memorable way. Mr. Down's book was an enjoyable read, and it has left me with much to ponder.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift that will give forever 12 Aug 2014
By Jim Ostroff - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
"Why You Were Born" is a euphoric, tour de force through our world, written, photographed and choreographed by a master storyteller and image-maker.

Jerry Downs is by turns a sprite; a keen observer of nature and people; a pied piper beckoning humanity to revel in the marvels around them and live, not just age.

"Why" is an eye-opener to the amazing beauty that's about us everywhere, if only we will look and the power of childhood awe to enrich our lives, if only we dare to remember it. Downs’ gift will give endlessly, as some very special, nourishing cornucopia. Having read "Why" once, I know that I will come back to it again and again for enjoyment, but also to recharge my soul.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has sweet parts and a few sad parts 9 Aug 2014
By Connie Post - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I absolutely looooooove this book by photography and writer Jerry Downs. This book has sweet parts and a few sad parts, but mostly it is a hysterical and wonderfully honest look at what it means to be a human being. The book asks us to come out and play and be part of the magic that is life. I proudly display the book on my coffee table!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificient book 9 Aug 2014
By Craig Cottingham - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Dealing with the complexities, perplexions and lost centers of life is the human condition in the present age. As we spiral down into a dismal groundless chasm, we look for a way to climb out and restore our natural status along the time- line of our personal adventure. As Jerry looks back along his own timeline, the process of self discovery he shares, the sure footed clues his book provides can help all of us reach a higher ground. The pictures are relevant, poignant and alarmingly creative and original. You will be amazed at how these tools can help to clear a path in your daily life. I've tried it, it works magnificently. Jerry's humble approach, intimate sharing, and fascinating text take you on an adventure that captures you by the roots to take you back to the beginning.
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