The human eye is one place where the intensity of human presence becomes uniquely focused and available. The universe finds its deepest reflection and belonging in the human eye. I imagine the mountains dreaming of the coming of vision. The eye when it opens is like the dawn breaking in the night. When it opens a new world is there. The eye is also the mother of distance. When the eye opens, it shows us that others and the world are outside us, distant from us.
p. 86 “Anam Cara” by John O’Donohue
The sense I probably find most overwhelming – or maybe it is in a shared first place with hearing – is eye-sight. Unless I am intensely focused on a single object or a specific task I will take in the surrounding world in all its glory through my eyes. I notice a lot of details and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might also experience colours as well lights and shades more intensely than some others. Like I got everything in HD before the term even existed… Also I need the physical space around me to be fairly orderly and without clutter; when I was younger I thought it was about wanting to control my surroundings and I felt ashamed. I have later realised that it is more about aesthetics and sense of space than something neurotic in my psyche.
In the brief quote from John O’Donohue above it is hinted that there is much more to eye-sight than seeing itself. Later in the book “Anam Cara” he talks about how it is useful for us to notice our styles of vision; he talks of the fearful eye, the greedy eye, the judgemental eye, the resentful eye, the indifferent eye, the inferior eye and the loving eye. To him it seems that our style of vision is deeply interwoven with our thoughts and our attitudes to our selves and others.
I have what I like to call a sensual style of vision which brings me great pleasure and which I also use for photography and drawing. With my sensual eyes I attempt to be fully present with things around me and I take in textures as if I am gently touching the thing I observe. Like a blind person might run their fingers gently over somebody’s face to get to know their features, my sight becomes like an extension of my touch-sense. It is not an intrusive or analysing way of looking at things – I just see what is there, trying not to label it or describe it. If I am drawing I need to forget what the things is in order to capture it and when I am taking photographs or looking for interesting objects or angles I need to let go of my preconceptions and any project or goal I might have.
The actual anatomy of our eyes as well as the whole brain/body side of seeing is fascinating but others have described these things already so I’ll will just leave some links. If anybody knows of good links please let me know!
Finally I would like to share some photographs I have taken recently