"Oh Say Can You See?" Entering a Conversation about Seeing…

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Garrett Cornish Garrett Cornish 3 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #227
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    Dr. M
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    Considering the Seeing Is Believing course description and the focus that Martin Jay establishes in his “introduction” to Downcast Eyes, comment on the following:

    How would you describe the conversation about vision and seeing that you’re entering? What are its parameters? Major Keyterms?

    Where do you see yourself entering the conversation? How do you see yourself becoming a participant? How are you already conversant in this conversation–or already a participant (perhaps an unwitting one)?

  • #228
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    Joachim Chielens
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    I would describe it as an homage to human vision and eyesight. It is almost like he is saying that there are no limits as to what this sense can do, or what it means to us. Vision has influenced so many spheres of human life; language, with its many visual metaphors and visual cultural and social practices, like the written word. Optical expansions through the telescope and cinematic technology in order to perfect this already important sense is yet another example how important seeing is for mankind. I do not think he is exaggerating when he writes that certain cultures or ages have been dominated by vision. He also mentions that sight is the last sense to develop, together with speech and that there might be a link between those. Can one describe an object when he has never seen it? Not only do our eyes allow us to see what is on the outside, they also allow people to see what is on the inside. After all they eyes are considered the window into the soul. Eyes have also the ability to talk. For instance, tears when confronted with certain emotions, a flicker in one’s eye when he sees the girl he loves, or the uncontrollable movement of the eye to the upper right when telling a lie. I entered this conversation with the idea that sight was just a sense like touch, smell. However, after reading this introduction, I have to revise (pun intended) my opinion. Just the fact that I am reading his introduction and construction a written answer support the claim that sight is extremely important.

  • #300
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    Diego Aranha
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    I would describe this conversation as an observation about how our sense of sight affects our society. It’s parameters are set on vision only, however, it is such a broad idea that I feel as if it provokes endless topics. Reading this introduction made me realize that vision means everything to our society. To me, it seemed like a regular paragraph. However, the footnotes stated that there were 21 visual metaphors in the introduction alone. That was surprising to me. I had to read the paragraph to make sure that was true. That is when I realized that the words we choose to speak with in our everyday lives are closely related to sight. We use them so often that it is easy to forget that they are visual metaphors. If this doesn’t prove that we are an ocular-centric society I don’t know what does.

    • #301
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      Joachim Chielens
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      Diego,
      You state that our sense of sight affects our society. On the one hand, I agree that vision affects our society. On the other hand, I would claim that it can be the other way around too. I believe that our society affects how we see things. That what we see and how we see it depends on the cultural framework we put it in. Has violence become more acceptable because we see it on TV, or has it become more acceptable to show violence on TV because our society has become more acceptable of that behavior?

      • #345
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        Medusa
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        I think that Jay does entertain both perspectives, gentlemen. And, and “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” way of describing visions significance is apropos. On the one hand, vision affects our society; on the other hand, our society affects our vision. On the one hand, vision is important in that it empowers what we can see and know; on the other hand, vision is important in that it is a powerful tool that can nevertheless be used by people or groups in power (from governments to political parties to advertisers to news media) to distract or manage how or what we see.

        • #347
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          Joachim Chielens
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          I fully agree with the statement that both vision affects our society, and our society affects our vision. However, does this imply that blind people are outsiders? A blind person cannot be influenced by what he or she sees. Nor can he or she be influential based on what he or she sees.

  • #313
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    Anonymous
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    I think the idea of seeing is believing is extremely fascinating, especially with today’s technology and generation. We seem to lose faith and begin to sway from the unseen things that we believe in and find ourselves truly believing whatever we see. Social media has become a wasteland for satiric writing and inaccurate news stories, but we find ourselves believing these 140 character messages instantly. In fact we retweet these things hoping to inform other of the truth when in reality we are just furthering the lies. I think we see things at a surface level and fail to dig deeper for the truth or for ourselves, due to the idea that we think life owes us something. We rarely search for truth or facts, rather we love and believe in the trending stories. I feel we have no boundaries when it comes to what we see or want to see but instead our laziness hinders us from seeing more. We hold ourselves back because we expect things to be handed to us; it’s my world. I hope my sight opens to the truth from this course and hope that my generation will open their eyes and truly see whats real in this world. The screens we live behind are our drug, we are addicts refusing rehabilitation.

    • #342
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      Rahmat Ashari
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      I love your last sentence, “The screens we live behind are our drug, we are addicts refusing rehabilitation.”
      Regarding to the effect of social media, I truly agree with you. In this age of fake news, lies can be easily spread. From my observation, most people don’t see the bigger picture when they were embraced with a shocking headlines and end up exponentially sharing inaccurate information. At the same time, it makes me question since you say ” … we see things at a surface level and fail to dig deeper for the truth …”, is there a certain standard for ‘surface level’ and how deeper do we have to analyze further to gain truth?

    • #346
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      Medusa
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      Jacob, I think you make several good diagnoses of what is wrong with how our society “sees” or “fails to see.” I think we could add an interesting corollary to your diagnoses: there are also people of are blind to particularly realities or ways of seeing–even if there is visual or empirical evidence to support those realities, i.e. global warming. So, a refusal to see or to acknowledge what is right before their eyes. This would resonate with the Helen Keller quote, I think.

      And the things you mention that are unseen….you mean things like intelligence, compassion, faith (in humanity? in people?)

      I agree with Rahmat about your last sentence–and think that you might develop that idea even further: what exactly are the screens? How do they blind us or make things invisible that are clearly visible or otherwise empirically recognizable? This is a potential argument, no?

      There is something going on with “superficiality” vs.”depth.” Does that involve a failure of questioning, skepticsm, thought/thinking? The acceptance of the “sound bite” and certain “memes” as facts (or alternative facts) turns me to stone…

  • #367
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    Medusa
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    If the Ancient Greeks hadn’t been so ocularcentric, I wouldn’t have been able to turn so many of them to stone just by looking…

  • #1302
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    Garrett Cornish
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    Seeing is Believing is focused on the results and the outcomes of humankind being given the gift of vision. The benefits and consequences of vision is discussed but the consequences are more frequently discussed. Focusing on the consequences allows us to learn from the consequences. Learning from the consequences of vision allows us to fix how we live and see the real world in our eyes. We are discussing and changing the way we see based from the knowledge we learn about vision.

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