So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray. – Oscar Wilde
I often write about the importance of an artist’s or a writer’s or a thinker’s truly “seeing,” as opposed to merely looking.
Even flies can look. Looking is nothing more than image recognition. Seeing is a deeper thing. It has to do with perceiving and with understanding and with the imagination and with empathy and feeling. Seeing things as they truly are requires looking with the spirit and not simply with the eyes, and sometimes it requires a bit of faith.
In the Northeast, winter is brutally cold and long. I am a gardener and I almost exclusively plant perennials–flowers that return year after year. Perennials wither and fade during the winter. After most perennials quit blooming, the ground where they once were re-closes and it is easy to forget where the flowers have been. For months, a perennial garden seems to be barren. After several months of staring at nothing but the scalped earth, a novice gardener might begin to feel discouraged. But those of us who have gardened for many years know that as surely as there is May, there will be flowers again.
A visionary is like an experienced gardener. Even when his world is lying fallow, he is able to see the lush garden that will soon appear.
To see things in the seed, that is genius. Lao Tzu
Abraham Lincoln failed in business three times and failed at campaigning seven times before being elected as President of the USA.
Yesterday, I saw the following video, and it recounts several success stories about people who, in spite of temporary barrenness, continued to have vision:
One huge mistake that many of us make is that of being discouraged by the opinions of other people.Einstein was expelled from school and his teachers said that he was mentally slow. Thomas Edison was told that he was too stupid to learn. Sidney Poitier was told at an acting audition that he was wasting time and that he should get a job as a dishwasher. The Beatles were told that they had no future in show business. Walt Disney was fired from his job working for a newspaper and was told that he didn’t have any ideas.
I continuously realize too late that I should have done this or that thing differently. I repeat the tired expression: Hindsight is 20/20.
In reality, hindsight is not normally perfect either. Even when we review our mistakes, we often don’t see what was wrong with our plans. Too often, we allow public opinion to mute the voice that we need to hear and we make our plans accordingly. We need to see with our souls and with our own intuitions–and not through the clouded lenses that others want us to use. True vision is the only sight that is 20/20 and it is something that we see with our spirits.
©Jacki Kellum May 13, 2016