We see what we want to see, not necessarily what is there.
When our expectations are not met, disappointment and unhappiness may follow.
To see only what we want to see hides so many things we do not want to see and with these, things we not able to see.
Life is seeing, it’s learning to open our eyes so we may see more. When we see more, perhaps joy will follow.
Cosmologist Sean Carroll uses the term poetic naturalism to identify the way we look upon a universe that we know so little about and yet bring meaning to, meaning that grows as we continue to explore:
“Life is a process, not a substance, and it is necessarily temporary. We are not the reason for the existence of the universe, but our ability for self-awareness and reflection makes us special within it.”*
Novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch uses the word “attention” to identify seeing that is more than “looking” – looking, she says, is a neutral way of seeing:
‘I can only choose within the world I can see, in the moral sense of ‘see’ which implies that clear vision is a result of moral imagination and moral effort.’**
Seeing is about who we are, who we are becoming, it’s full of stories and fables and myths with triumphs and failures, with conflicts and strivings. It is no small surprise, then, that we change the universe by our seeing.
‘If you want to achieve the unimaginable, you start by imagining it.’^
(*Sean Carroll, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Existential Therapy from the Universe.)
(**From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)
(^From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)