One very practical problem that we face, when we’re looking at art, is how we train our eyes to see. When we’re watching the news, documentaries, and movies, we look at the world through a camera lens.
Artist David Hockney calls this perspective “The one-eyed tyranny”. As an artist, he is suspicious, since it does not honor the full view of life, that two human eyes are otherwise able to perceive. You’ve experienced that yourself, taking snapshots of the sunrise, but it does not really get it.
If Hockney has a point, then we are talking about a reduction of optical perspective. Fascinating how the philosophical, practical and metaphorical goes hand in hand, don’t you think? When we are looking at the world through a lesser lens, could it, in turn, reduce our greater perception? Does it influence how we interpret the world around us?
When we are looking at the world through a lesser lens, could it reduce our greater perception?
In Genesis we read that Adam is alone, and that it’s not good. Writer Ellis Potter comments on this in a L’Abri lecture: “It takes more than one subject to observe objectivity”. CS Lewis muses on the same idea: “My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through the eyes of others”
We are so used to the luxury of being spoon-fed visuals, that we don’t really think much about it. We’ve become numb and demanding. When suggested a book, we’d rather want the movie. When we hear audio, we’ll wait for the YouTube slide-show. When challenged with hard issues, we’re not that engaged until the documentary provides the insights in recognizable narrative patterns with lots of expert interviews, animated graphics and special effects on top.
I wonder, what could result from all of this. My main concern is, that it might dull our imagination. Why am I wasting your time with all this? A middle-eastern architect once said: “Parables are the only way you will understand”.