….Is there one way of seeing anything? Though the answer is deceptively simple, most try to ignore the obvious and try to see things in one particular way. A businessman would see the world in one particular way and no other way is acceptable to him. Similarly Capitalistic economies see the world in a specific manner. They are relentless about their way of seeing things in terms of expansion and growth even if they trample upon millions of lives and Nature. Same it is for Marxists. They even want art to reflect their ideology. But why should it be so?
For example, if we are viewing a simple window, there are many ways of seeing it.
We can see it as an opening that lets in fresh air when we feel stuffy inside a room.
We can also choose not to see too much of the window but the perhaps see and enjoy the excellent view of Nature that it might offer.
We can then see the connection between a window and the hygiene of a room. We can see it as a medium of exchange that lets in sunlight and fresh air and drives out bacteria and dust that accumulate in the room.
We may also see the state of economy and material prosperity by paying attention to the quality of the window materials used and the way they are arranged and painted.
We can see a window as a window to the culture of the place like ‘bay windows indicating ‘surplus’ of leisure; ‘jafri’ windows of Rajasthan as a means to protect privacy of women from unwanted gaze of strangers or the ‘jali’ windows of old Kolkata displaying aristocracy of the household.
We can look at a window to get an idea of the climate of a place. Hotter climate calls for smaller windows and use of less glass. Colder climates necessitate use of larger windows and glasses to trap the available heat of a weak sun.
We can also see many windows in the neighborhood to see whether the neighborhood belongs to working class community or to the privileged class.
We can with some patience wait to see the effect of traffic on the windows of our interest. Do they rattle with the vibration of a motor cycle passing by or the blare of its horn? If they rattle a lot then we can be sure that the life of the window panes would be short enough forcing the owner to spend substantial money on its upkeep if he or she cares to keep the draught out on a chilly day in December.
So many ways to see the reality! No doubt there is a diversity of views. But that is true of any reality. Reality of anything is made up of diverse views or ‘sees’. Wisdom lies in accepting all views and living with them but choosing one or some according to one’s intention, needs, limitations and constraints in a given context.
‘Seeing’ is the spiritual part of anything.
How is that?
In India, spirituality is described in a very simple way – it is nothing but the power of paying attention with a still mind and being aware of the possibilities such viewing unfolds.
If so, there is hardly any divide between spirituality and materialism because without the form, which materialism provides, there is no spirituality or nothing to notice or ‘see’.
Similarly, there is also no divide between our inner world and the external world. The secrets of both worlds can only be revealed through the power of ‘seeing’ or paying attention by a still mind and becoming aware of all possibilities. After ‘see’ all that is left for us to do then is rather straightforward and easy. We are then left to engage with the possibilities that compete for further attention in our awareness space and carefully choose (mull) the one that satisfies a given need in a given context within its existing limitations and then exchange the choice with others. However, whether the exchange improves the life of the individual and/or that of others would depend on the intention of the ‘seer’. …..
[The book: ‘Winning Anywhere – the Power of ‘See” is now available on Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/o4q8kxq (paperback) and would soon be available on Flipkart as ebook.]
2 thoughts on “Excerpts from the book “Nemetics — The Power of See”.”
I appreciate your point about ideologies as ways of seeing. We often fail to evaluate our windows, or chose to look through alternatives that may make better sense. Seeing that we can let go of one frame to see another that offers alternative perspectives is important.
The blurring of spirituality and materiality is interesting, particularly with respect to the way we’re taught to look thorough our given frames, with clarity and confidence. We tend to forget that we have a choice about the windows we look through. We assume that windows are fixed, representing an ideal, or absolute way of seeing the world (or a specific context). But in ‘blurring’ our vision and looking elsewhere, we let go of familiar reflections, so that we might see another facet of reality where material/spiritual possibilities may be found. Not an easy thing to do alone, nor is it always safe to do with people who think their frames are the best and only way to see.
For me, questions of value and influence come up. Throughout life we are persuaded to look through windows into the world that are ideological, rational, institutional, cultural, and so on. These are thought to help us so that we might share (or exchange) what is valued in common. These values may be considered an objective measurement, such as in the sciences, or based on subjective orientations to content, such as in religion, both of which may be persuasively taught to those who seek to be valued.
When we communicate the windows we look through, we can see if the ‘other’ sees the same way, or holds a different view that may challenge our own. By engaging in this way we create, or identify a shared sense of value that may ‘string us together’ as a common means of exchange. By continually exchanging what we value with others, the more we ourselves feel valued. We humans may never look elsewhere for engagement if we remain confident that our preferred strings will always lead to the exchanges of value we seek, even if we’re deceived.
Quite basic, I realise, but it becomes interesting when these windows of exchange result in large economic constructions that set limits on what is materially valued. This reminds me of something I recently read which serves as an example: Does Studying Economics Breed Greed? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/give-and-take/201310/does-studying-economics-breed-greed
Thanks for your deep comment.
Great question, ‘Does studying Economics breed greed?”
Surely, this is one of the humane possibilities that would shape the way people see and make sense of events, behaviors and intentions that may or may not stimulate the collective ego.