This is part of my commentary on what I am seeing as I travel through life

The earth-self observing the Cosmos and trying to understand the Cosmos by scientific principle from which its self is excluded is, beyond doubt, the strangest phenomenon in all of the Cosmos, far stranger than the ring Nebula in Lyra.*
(Walker Percy)

After reading this, I wanted to see the Ring Nebula of Lyra, a beautiful gaseous aura created by a dying star. As a result, I found myself holding the phrase “I’d love to see that (before I die).” That being many things.

That is something different for each of us, intimately connected to our curiosity, interest, exploration, imagination and creativity:

Creative work is a training of each individual’s perception according to the level on which he is alive and awake; that is why it is so difficult to evaluate.**

We are made of the same “stardust” as the Ring Nebula of Lyra, part of what it is we are observing, and this invites us to observe differently. Here Kimon Nicolaïdes describes a fuller, deeper observation:

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly — and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye. The sort of ‘seeing’ I mean is an observation that utilises as many of the five senses as can reach through the eye at one time. Although you use your eyes, you do not close up the other senses – rather, the reverse, because all the senses have a part in the sort of observation you are to make.^

And what if I allow my emotions to be a part of this seeing? Will I see even more? And will listening to others whelp us to deeply see not only more of our world and universe, but also more of ourselves, helping us to remove from the centre of our worlds – remembering Percy’s warning:

The self of the sign-user can never be grasped, because, once the self locates itself at the dead centre of its world, there is no signified to which a signifier can be joined to make a sign. The self has no sign of itself. No signifier applies.*

When we are seeing, observing, attentive with all of our senses – the whole of our lives – then we come to more than a sign, that is, something we have named, and enter into the signified itself:

Wherever you attention alights, at this very point, experience.**

Nicolaïdes adds to this encouragement from M. C. Richards:

It’s having a particular kind of experience, which can continue as long as you have patience to look.^

I do not think I see in this way, and believe it may take the rest of my life to explore even a small part of it. Yet, if I go back to the question that formed itself when I’d read the opening words from Percy – “I’d love to see that (before I die)” – it is perhaps one of the most important things life offers me.

(*From Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos.)
(**From M. C. Richards’ Centering.)
(^Kimon Nicolaïdes, quoted in Austin Kleon’s blog: Blind contour drawings.)

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