Ordinary Looking

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Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. You are missing the events unfolding in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you…

…I would find myself at once alarmed, delighted, and humbled at the limitations of my ordinary looking. My consolation is that this deficiency of mine is quite human. We see, but we do not see: we use our eyes, but our gaze is glancing, frivolously considering its object. We see the signs, but not their meanings. We are not blinded, but we have blinders…

…By marshaling your attention to these words, helpfully framed in a distinct border of white, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses: the hum of the fluorescent lights, the ambient noise in a large room, the places your chair presses against your legs or back, your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw, the map of the cool and warm places on your body, the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawn-mower, the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision, a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.

Alexandra Horowitz (On looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes)


20 thoughts on “Ordinary Looking

  1. … todo esto me ha recordado a Nietzsche… el decía que estamos tan bombardeados por los estímulos externos, tan en contacto con todo lo que nos rodea, que no tiene sentido el llamarnos.. YO como ente unitario, sino ELLO; estamos en ese todo… el bello irracionalismo. Tu blog es una joya y saber de ti es fantástico. Un abrazo.

  2. Great post in a few words Elisa, and a great new look on the blog. I was going to add something happening in a nearby room…a new hamster addition to the family, running on her wheel, having a blast, un-missable racket recruiting my hearing back to the hear and now thanks to your post. (0:

  3. I am always amazed by what I do not see. What I do not hear, I can excuse, because I don’t hear very well. But far too often I look but do not see. I am trying to slow down, to truly notice. To give my eyes my full attention. It is so difficult!

    • I like to slow down too Emily, which helps me be in the present moment…if only for a short spell. Have a good week and thanks for your comment.

  4. Beautiful photograph, and beautiful words that brought me right back into presence. Thank you.
    I know it’s been ages (we’ve been without internet for a while) but I wanted to thank you for the ‘like’ on the post about Bolivia. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    Blessings, Alison

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