Saturday, May 9, 2009

angle of vision...

Emerson was fond of having children bend over and look at the world, upside down, through their legs...Its all about the angle of vision. This from the "Idealism" chapter of "Nature":

"When the eye of Reason opens, to outline and surface are at once added, grace and expression. These proceed from imagination and affection, and abate somewhat of the angular distinctness of objects. If the Reason be stimulated to more earnest vision, outlines and surfaces become transparent, and are no longer seen; causes and spirits are seen through them. The best moments of life are these delicious awakenings of the higher powers, and the reverential withdrawing of nature before its God...

Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. Certain mechanical changes, a small alteration in our local position apprizes us of a dualism. We are strangely affected by seeing the shore from a moving ship, from a balloon, or through the tints of an unusual sky. The least change in our point of view, gives the whole world a pictorial air. A man who seldom rides, needs only to get into a coach and traverse his own town, to turn the street into a puppet-show. The men, the women, -- talking, running, bartering, fighting, -- the earnest mechanic, the lounger, the beggar, the boys, the dogs, are unrealized at once, or, at least, wholly detached from all relation to the observer, and seen as apparent, not substantial beings. What new thoughts are suggested by seeing a face of country quite familiar, in the rapid movement of the rail-road car! Nay, the most wonted objects, (make a very slight change in the point of vision,) please us most. In a camera obscura, the butcher's cart, and the figure of one of our own family amuse us. So a portrait of a well-known face gratifies us. Turn the eyes upside down, by looking at the landscape through your legs, and how agreeable is the picture, though you have seen it any time these twenty years! "


1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

When we think we know. When we are certain, we look at things from a new angle and out certitude is disturbed, our anxiety or delight arises, and we realize we don't know what we thought we knew.

And that experience leaves us anxious and insecure, or delighted and curious: which?

A person has to decide at some point how he/she wants to live life, certain and anxious, or open to new angles and delighted.

I personally choose the new angles most of the time.

On the Myers Briggs I am a P not a J and I have compassion for Js but we need them too. I am guessing that Emerson was a P.

All the best,

David Markham