“One could say that the whole of life lies in seeing…” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: The Human Phenomenon, trans. Sarah Appleton-Weber, p. 3)
We 21st century humans do a lot of looking—through telescopes, microscopes and endoscopes, and don’t forget gunscopes. We’ve figured out how to reduce image to formula, a bunch of 0’s and 1’s, digitized points of black or white. With the click of a button—a million people can gaze upon the exact same crater on Mars, or beating heart, or funnel cloud, or talking parrot, or burning coal mine, or dying star.
But seeing, I think, is pretty rare. When we see, really, it is with all our senses. Seeing starts to happen when the whole body takes in the image, and we touch, taste, hear, and feel. Memories are awakened. We begin to see not merely with the light from the sun but with the light from our own being. Inside us, there’s a new image formed, an imagined one that can’t be reduced to 0’s or 1’s.