The processes by which bodies related to environments became of great concern, and the idea of being itself became difficult to really define. What did people mean when they said "A is B", "A must be B", "A was B"...? Some linguists advocated dropping the verb "to be" from the English language, leaving " E Prime ", supposedly less prone to bad abstractions. Others, mostly philosophers, tried to dig into the word and its usage. Martin Heidegger distinguished human being as existence from the being of things in the world. Heidegger proposes that our way of being human and the way the world is for us are cast historically through a fundamental ontological questioning. These fundamental ontological categories provide the basis for communication in an age: a horizon of unspoken and seemingly unquestionable background meanings, such as human beings understood unquestioningly as subjects and other entities understood unquestioningly as objects. Because these basic ontological meanings both generate and are regenerated in everyday interactions, the locus of our way of being in a historical epoch is the communicative event of language in use.  For Heidegger, however, communication in the first place is not among human beings, but language itself shapes up in response to questioning (the inexhaustible meaning of) being.  Even the focus of traditional ontology on the 'whatness' or quidditas of beings in their substantial, standing presence can be shifted to pose the question of the 'whoness' of human being itself. 
The last photo particularly captures the boy’s attention. In it, an Asian girl holds up a photo of a boy in a knit cap, who in turn holds a photo of a blond girl. This discovery prompts our protagonist to further examine the photo with a magnifying glass, gradually revealing even more images of children holding up photos of the previous child to find the camera. Closer examination with a microscope reveals the vivid colors of the present day fading to the black-and-white of earlier times, until all that remains is a photo of one child standing by the shores in clothes that indicate the turn of the past century. Recognizing himself as part of a continuum across generations, our young hero takes a picture of himself holding up the photo with all of the other children, his secret sharers in viewing an enchanted, hidden world below the sea.
Maggie is Joel's foil, not only because of their obvious screwball dynamic, but because they are actually not all that dissimilar from each other (and thus can quickly find the right cutting words for one another during their arguments). For all of Maggie's constantly-proclaimed independence, she also comes to Alaska partially out of obligation, in this case to a boyfriend doing research in the area. She criticizes Joel's misanthropy and disconnection from Cicely, but her job isolates her for several hours a day in a small plane, and carries her away from the town she fetishizes. Like Joel, she projects a brusque exterior, but it masks a great deal of hurt, which finds its expression in part through her need to make dioramas of her dead boyfriends. While Maggie has unfortunate luck with boyfriends, she also has a quasi-magical ability to save and restore men's health (as in one early episode when a single, fairy tale kiss restores DJ Chris's voice, or in the extended fourth season relationship between Maggie and a hypochondriac played by Anthony Edwards ). And while Maggie is certainly someone who longs to "recreate themselves in a nonjudgmental universe," that non-judgment is severely restricted to herself—like Joel, she is quick to berate those (like a female Gulf War veteran who opposes women in combat) who don't match her worldview.