What are you looking at? What are you looking for?
Something catches our eye and what do we do? We've seen something and so we look. There is curiosity and intent. We are looking to learn more about the thing we've seen.
As Nick Cave tells us, we recognize “there is more going on” than what we first saw. Now to get at the heart of the thing, we must look. And by looking, we find a path into the mystery of the thing. We are able to lean into it. By looking, we create a physical space with a visceral atmosphere we can step into. We can feel the space, and it allows us to engage the other senses so we can really look, so we can explore its mystery.
So what are you currently looking at? Not just seeing. What are you looking at? Or better yet, what are you looking for?
What are you looking at? Meaning you’ve seen something and want to explore more.
What are you looking for? Meaning you’re aware of an absence, and are searching for more to explore.
As with the act of seeing, looking takes time, and patience. Where with the act of seeing a stare could suffice—we could stare and watch and wait for the thing to transform—when we look, we are active.
As we look, we must be patient, certainly, but there is an element of the chase here. We must enter that space unknown created by the curiosity, we must cross that boundary between the onlooker and the subject, enter that shared ambiguous space, and engage the mystery of the thing before us.
As we look, we come to understand there is more, we understand that we don't understand, and we understand that we must actively explore if we wish to learn more.
As we look, we cross the border between these two actions—to see, to look—both beginning with the eyes but quickly moving beyond the capabilities of mere sight, from the passive to the active.
To see means we allow space for the subject to be seen. We are working hard not to interrupt, to simply witness.
To look means we are called to action. We are compelled to engage the thing we've seen.
Both have similar goals: we wish to unlock some mystery surrounding what we've seen, but we achieve these goals in very different ways. One is not more accurate or better, we simply have to practice each one to unlock some of its mystery.
Yesterday, we considered who we see. Today, let's consider who we will look for and where. Who's missing in your life, what is missing? And how will you go look for them?