I’m currently reading through Emerson’s Nature in preparation for teaching another class this September on the American Transcendentalists. In the chapter called “Language” he quotes Goethe (though Coleridge also said something very much like it): “every object rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of the soul.” This truth, reality, phenomenon, or law — whatever you want to call it — underpins mission #17, which has to do with right view. In my own small way, I have here and there been able to experience the soul-unlocking potential of seeing properly. Proper seeing, in my experience, is a sort of active passive imagination, a participation in both the unfolding of what is seen and the seeing itself. Seeing seems to me an unfolding in time as well as a witnessing of objects in space. There is always an invisible element (the “rightly” in the above quotation) that is key in unlocking the mysteries of the visible.
every object rightly seen…
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