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The art of seeing
A visual text
See that human being.
See that particular
Everybody sees - and wishes to be seen.
We see with our brains, not with the eyes.
We see by our concepts, and our language.
We see through feelings, emotions and culture.
We see with our imagination, through our belief
and religion. Spectacles. Of the kind we cant take off.
We see through science and philosophy, not with the eyes.
We see what we know. What we dont know,
we dont see. We see with the heart,
and by our will. We see with a third
eye. The other two are mirrors,
filters and doors. They
focus on chosen items.
Sometimes we close
our eyes to see.
only see what
see what were
looking for, because weve seen too much of it already.
Sometimes we dont appreciate what we see then we choose
to see something else. Sometimes we pretend we havent seen what
is there, alas it is gone. Sometimes we hope or fear to see something
and see it everywhere. We see the beauty in the detail. We
look for the bigger picture. We see something that symbolizes something
else. Signs, logos, flags.
The original meaning of to see is to follow someone with
the eyes. It is derived from the Latin socius, meaning
companion, and from the Ancient Norwegian seggr,
meaning man, warrior.
I see something is going on. I look up to, down on and into yours.
A few years ago, Gallery F15 of Moss, Norway, arranged an exhibition
with graduates from different Norwegian art academies. In the corner
of the first floor in the main building, a young, male artist had
put up his work: a lot of, almost similar paintings portraying a crocodile.
The paintings were in strong colours and in a childish and naive style.
These paintings contained his collected efforts to catch an inner
image of a toy he used to play with as a boy. A green crocodile, he
recorded. The various paintings presented the crocodile from different
angles, some full-sized and others of the head only. The artist had
worked on this for quite some time, but he was never able to recreate
in paint the inner image of his childhood crocodile. He ended up asking
his mother who informed him that the crocodile really
had been a dinosaur, looking altogether quite different from what
the artist had remembered. His image of the toy had been made before
he was able to differentiate between crocodiles and dinosaurs. In
other words: he saw what he had the vocabulary to describe, and tried
later on to paint something coloured by his adult language. The two
did not go together. As a child he had denoted all crocodile-seeming
things with the same linguistic term, and his mature language was
limiting to the memory of all shapes and forms a childhood crocodile
may have had. It was therefore impossible to capture the childs
vision with the grown mans mind.
Children are minimalists. They draw what they see, and what they see
is synonymous with what they are able to give names to. My sons
drawings of a lorry consisted once of two wheels, a truck, a steering
wheel, the drivers compartment and, for some obscure reason, a huge
pair of windscreen wipers clearly marked onto the front window. Later
on he added an exhaust box, an antenna (!), mirrors and so on. Once
the different parts were identified linguistically, they became visible
to him and subsequently important for him to add to his drawings.
As grown-ups we have too many words and we are too familiar
with the world to see it.
|Sometimes we see through our fingers.
Sometimes we see sharply, or
look into the matter and see to it,
that it does not happen again.
Sometimes we dont believe our eyes
- and strictly speaking, theres no reason to.
We draw your attention to the fact that some of the following scenes
may be disturbing to people of a sensitive nature.
People of a sensitive nature may wish to turn away.
We draw your attention to the fact that the following scenes may cause
people of a sensitive nature to act.
We draw your attention to the fact that to act upon strong feelings
is a matter for The State only.
I see you suffer.
I see youre scared.
I see you need (my) help.
I see youre asking me to help. ME
Not The State
Does seeing this text make you recognize the words and meaning?
Normative ethics following the rules is not possible
without an ability to see from the moral point of view. To recognize
the situation and the applicant rules. Its no help knowing the
rules if you dont see when and how to use them. A special skill
is required to see other people suffering. What do we see when we
see other people suffering? Do we see ourselves? Is what we see limited
to what our personal experiences are?
Is what we are able to recognize limited by our imagination?
Do we see the worst scenarios imaginable?
Can we see something unimaginable?
Are we able to recognize suffering if we have not suffered ourselves?
Are some blind to others hurting?
Is compassion possible?
Do we become compassionate by watching someone elses pain?
One needs a special skill to be moved by someone elses pain.
Its never images only. Who says seeing happens only with the
eyes? Listen to the screams, smell the degradation! Feel the heat!
Sense the cold!
This will complete the image