The Act and Art of Seeing

 "Most people can't see with any acuity. Their eyes skid over things, but they're not really aware of what they're looking at. Take a typical person and look a the kind of furniture they have, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the things they read - if they read - and the places they go on holiday, and you realize that they are probably missing 90 per cent of the pleasure to be got out of things because they really don't see anything. You're taught to talk, read and write, but no one seems to teach you how to perceive."
From –  Beware Wet Paint by Alan Fletcher

"Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?"
Mark 8:18 New International Version (NIV)

I am currently obsessed with the books of graphic designer icon Alan Fletcher. There is a playfulness to his work that is enchanting. Plus his ultra-inquisitive and omnivorous sense of discovery is dazzling, and a little intimidating.

But I want to take his quote above and extend it beyond strict visual arts. I say the same thing is true of the way most of us “look” at life, other people and the world in general.

Just as “Their eyes skid over things, but they're not really aware of what they're looking at” regarding art and design, our eyes skid over poverty and cruelty. Of course it is way easier to “skid over” people in need if they live on the other side of town, are in prison, or from the other side of the world.

The word Compassion comes from Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with.’

IF you really look at person (or any sentient being, aka animals) in pain and actually “SEE” them in pain, you feel for them and suffer with them. Compassion only happens if you know how “to see”.


Cultural Hegemony

I just wanted to save this...It came out of Marxist theory, but the idea is intriguing

In Marxist philosophy, the term cultural hegemony describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of that society — the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores — so that their ruling-class worldview becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm; as the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural, inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.


And if added to the amazing ability of people to be so susceptible to advertising in our consumer society it explains a lot of wacky behavior. The Billionaires go on CNBC and bemoan how oppressed they are and how the poor need to work more, and somehow the general public believes it.