Seeing

I was sitting on my balcony recently, causally glancing over the buildings in the near distance and I saw something I had never seen.  Now I have lived in this town, in this apartment building, in this apartment, for more than twenty-five years.  I have been venturing out on to this balcony literally hundreds of times. And I never saw it before?  It wasn’t the fact that it had been there decades longer than I have, it was that I hadn’t noticed it.

Our eyes may look but it is our brain that sees.  How many times have you walked into a room, looked around and missed seeing the person you were there to meet? They were standing in plain sight but you missed them.  How many times have you bumped into something or someone right in front of you?  Your eyes were open but your brain was distracted.

I was walking in a mall one day many years ago when I was startled by an old friend, just inches from my face.  He said that he had been waving and while I was looking at him, he realized I hadn’t seen him.  I hadn’t.  My mind, my brain was preoccupied.  So, while the saying ‘seeing is believing’ is catchy, I don’t believe it.

Four people see a traffic accident.  They will have four different accounts.  Ask any First Responder.  We all SEE things differently. Our eyes see and our brain interprets. And THAT is what we witness.

I look out over a pristine forest and I see great beauty in the flora and fauna. Someone who makes their living from cutting down those trees sees his children with food on the table and a roof over their heads. We are looking at the exact same thing and yet we ‘see’ something completely different. And therein lies the conundrum.

What is the truth? What is the truth to you?  There are some facts that are irrefutable and yet some people refuse to believe them. Why? Perhaps they are unable to handle the truth. And it is so difficult to sift through the masses of information and misinformation that we are bombarded with every day.  Sometimes it is easier to listen to whoever speaks the loudest.  Sad but true. What does that say about us as a people?  Mistakes have been made in the past that affected the entire world because the masses listened to the wrong voice. How can we ensure that doesn’t happen again?

Oh and what was it that I had not noticed?  It was the name of the building I was looking at in four-foot letters!

 

26 thoughts on “Seeing

  1. Murphy's Law

    Pam, I have pondered this very thing so many times I have lost count. The fact that 10 people are looking at one painting and you will get 10 different interpretations. Which one is right? Is no one right? Are they all right?

    Like you, I’ve seen something hundreds of times and suddenly one day see something “new”. Only it’s not new, I just never noticed it before!

    You’re spot on when you say it’s sometimes easier to listen to the one who is loudest. I hope and pray in our upcoming presidential election that voters listen to ‘the quiet voice of reason’ and ignore the loudmouth!

    Ginger

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    1. quiall Post author

      Many, many years ago I did a painting I called ‘Private Dancer’. It was an abstract of a ballet dancer. I put it in a show and scores of people complimented me on the beautiful horse abstract. Horse!!! Once it was pointed out to me I saw it, 40 years after I painted it!

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  2. Dan Antion

    I can’t tell you how many times I am looking for a tool that I know I’ve used recently and I know I put it down in the vicinity of where I am looking. When I finally “find” it, I can’t believe it took so long to see it. Scrooge was right about what he said about our senses.

    I hope you have a good week.

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  3. tidalscribe

    I usually say, with gritted teeth, to anyone helping me search for that which is lost ‘Yes of course I looked in the cupboard / drawer / bedroom / shed / garage… but of course when they look, it miraculously appears!

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  4. joylennick

    An interesting piece, but Spec-savers for you, Butterfly! Coincidentally, I have just finished writing my weekly piece for the local paper, and it’s about OBSERVATION! I had lunch with two friends and could remember what outfit one was wearing at the time, but not the other…Supposing a murder took place right then but the killer escaped and the cops asked me what he looked like and what was he wearing?! Ber- dum..Us writers certainly have to have our wits about us!.I can recall reading a book (experienced writer) who described the female protagonist as having “pert breasts” and in the next chapter, they were “fully rounded.” Hey ho. xx

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    1. quiall Post author

      I worked for a police depart for 30 years and got into the habit of cataloging the people around me: what they were wearing, demeanour, any overheard conversation etc. It came in handy once or twice in 30 + years. I still do it occasionally.

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  5. K.L. Hale

    What a wonderful read Pam. It’s amazing how we all see things so differently. Oddly, I can be the one out of 4-5 that see it very differently. I used to chalk it up as, “I’m weird.” Then as I became older I started connecting with a few that could SEE the same things. Everyone’s reality is what they make it eh? We are all so unique and it’s amazing what I’ve missed in my views. And even more amazing are the ones I truly enjoy. And yes, I’d miss huge letters while admiring the things around it! Have a peaceful day my friend. 💚

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  6. dweezer19

    All true Pam. Along with accurate knowledge must go loving intent. Another frailty within the human psyche. Recently I am feeling humanity is a grand experiment that is going off the rails towards failure. I live with someone who can see the minuscule stray wire of a zipper on a pillow that might, under the exact circumstances, put your eye out; but when he can find his favorite spoon or shirt, it is gone forever-until I gently point to it. Intent. The mind sees what it wants to see and too often is guided by fear. Beautiful sunset. At first I thought that’s what you were talking about but I knew not. 🤗

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  7. Mark Lanesbury

    Ah dear lady, we are even distracted greatly by our fears. Ever ‘on-guard’ to our own individual one’s to the exclusion of all else. It blinds us in everything we do on this world. But one day we will all see through them, and underneath, in plain sight, is a majesty beyond words. And once seen it will forever change how we view the world…and ourselves. And the beauty is incredible, inside and out.
    I beg to stay blind so that at the right time, I too can truly see ❤️ 🙏🏼 🦋

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  8. Sorryless

    My God how right you are. We see what we choose to see, and so much of it depends on what we find most important. But to open our eyes to the world around us, truly open them. Imagine all that we could learn . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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