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Looking Looking
by David Sparenberg
2019-01-27 11:22:14
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One of the true lessons I learned from RD Laing was to observe each person and entity from more than one perspective.  Life is dynamic and in one sense or another every encounter is in process and how we approach a presence initiates openness and response. The more fully we observe the more we become aware of, and the less likely to be narrow minded and make snap judgments based on self-absorption, preconception and a one-dimensional point of view.  The less inclined, in truth, to decide to ignore or to deny this someone or something of encounter based on subjectivity and internal monologue. We are one with our bodies, yes, body proud and ego-bound, yet we are inclined to openness.  We are skin tight, yes, yet we are relatable out of porousness.

look0001To change perspective is to extend duration, intensify focus and to recognize the ambiguity inherent in all human encounters.  Who or what is this we are seeing?  Who or what the presence we now meet?  Changing perspective is motion.  It moves duration and distance and details.  By extending engagement and diversifying points of view, the observer too is taken into a process of mutuality.  Mutuality applies to interpersonal relationships, artistic endeavors, and, importantly, as well to ecology.

The French Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne for a time in his last years lived in Provence where he observed, approached and painted from various vantage points through seasons Mount Sainte-Victoire, artistically questing to capture in this serial concentration a moment in the essence of the mountain.  A mountain, of course, is not necessary to enter here, to become engaged or creatively absorbed.  The same is open to happening on any, including a small, scale.  But to maintain the reference to Cezanne we might consider how the points of view of Sainte-Victoire changed in the visioning of the painter and the acts of painting how he was seeing the mountain made changes in the identity of the artist.  Regardless of medium, a process of spiraling amplifications sets to work with life altering residual effect.  The painter is in part his paintings, the musician in part his music, the dancer her dancing, the actress her acting, the poet his or her poetry.  Is there a level outside of ordinary consciousness where Cezanne’s mountain is also subject to change?  Multiplicity emerges in this and unity, as gathering, becomes integral out of interweaving multiplicity. We might call such the patterns of interlacement.

Laing once made a training video to show us how differing points of view of a single subject yield differing perceptions and a subject that was mundane becomes mystical, that was beautiful becomes grotesque; the one and same being brilliant becomes lackluster and vice versa, and the apparently dull is otherwise experienced to conceal a subtle secret, a buried vitality, scintillation, fascination and affinity.

To draw close to recognition and participation experiences unity as a skein, a multiplicity of homeostatic and antithetical images and impressions and requires patience.  Perhaps also an effective interplay of humility and courage.  We do not, however, inhabit a patient world.  Unity of humility and courage are rarely found together in advanced industrial and cybernetic societies.

How often then; denying ourselves and our sense of being relationally-with and belonging-to; do we hurry by the meeting-of-otherness and with-otherness and miss thereby what will not happen for us without us?  Who and what we do not look at we do not see (or grow to see ourselves seen as we are seeing). Who and what we do not dare to linger before when the possibility of connection presents itself flattens existence and threatens to deaden natural vitality, along with the wonderment of diversity.  Porousness is replaced by cracks. One is to be spontaneously receptive, while the other is to become fragmented.  Cracks contribute nothingness to separation, falling apart, and to the abyss of history.

Through the time of our lives we are choosing between bitterness and innocence, between walls and openness, between joyous participation and the angst of isolation; exclusion of dimensions and points of view, or looking as the risk taking of adventure; the sensory and concrete attempts at a mutuality of dialogue with that which comes out before us, confronts, with surprise, force or quiet grace, and is relational. As badly as we must relearn to sing the world, we must also and with increasing urgency, be reeducated in looking; caring for what our attracted senses communicate; and connecting.

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Check David Sparenberg's NEW BOOK
THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!

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David Sparenberg has also 2 more Books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
"Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold"
Download for FREE HERE!

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