The Prompter Room

For Friday, September 22, 2017:

 

The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise… I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.

Annie Dillard, PILGRIM AT TINKER’S CREEK

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The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, May 30, 2017:

 

Part of what restricts us seeing things is that we have an expectation about what we will see, and we are actually perceptually restricted by that expectation.  In a sense, expectation is the lost cousin of attention: both serve to reduce what we need to process of the world ‘out there.’  Attention is the more charismatic member, packaged and sold more effectively, but expectation is also a crucial part of what we see.  Together they allow us to be functional, reducing the sensory chaos of the world into unbothersome and understandable units.

Alexandra Horowitz, ON LOOKING: ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES

(This is from a fascinating article by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.  Horowitz set herself the task of walking around the New York City block in which she and her family, including dogs, live, accompanied by eleven different pairs of eyes: those of such experts as an entomologist, a blind neighbor, someone from the Humane Society, an audiologist, her young son, even her dogs, and more.  The whole exercise is framed by her observations of her solitary walks before and after the experiment.

I’ve posted the article on my business page on Facebook, at Magic Lamp Editing Services. If you want to read more – and I recommend you do! – you can look for it there.  Or you can go to http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/08/12/on-looking-eleven-walks-with-expert-eyes.  Or click here.)