Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Seeing

"The child has to learn how to separate out the images which assail the newly-opened retina... a whole series of 'senses' are necessary... 

A sense of spatial immensity, in its greatness and in its smallness, disarticulating and spacing out, within a sphere of indefinite radius, the orbits of objects which press around us; 

A sense of depth, pushing back laboriously through the endless chain of events and measureless distances of time which a sort of sluggishness of mind tends continually to condense for us in a thin layer of the past; 

A sense of number, discovering and grasping unflinchingly the bewildering multitude of material or living elements involved in the slightest change in the universe;

A sense of proportion, realizing as best we can the difference of physical scale which separates, both it rhythm and dimension, the atom from the nebula, the infinitesimal from the immense;

A sense of quality, or of novelty, enabling us to distinguish in nature certain absolute stages of perfection and growth without upsetting the physical unity of the world; 

A sense of movement, capable of perceiving the irresistible developments hidden in extremely slow development - extreme agitation concealed beneath a veil of immobility - the entirely new insinuating itself into the heart of the monotonous repetition of the same things; 

A sense, lastly, of the organic, discovering physical links and structural unity under the superfical juxtaposition of successions and collectivities.

...we have only to rid our vision of the threefold illusion of smallness, plurality, and immobility for man effortlessly to take the central position... the momentary summit of an anthropogenesis which is itself the crown of a cosmogenesis. No longer will man be able to see himself entirely unrelated to mankind, neither will he be able to see mankind unrelated to life, not life unrelated to the universe."

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