Paul Valery said, "Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing that one sees." In other, less poetic words: when we really see something, we don't convert the image into symbols, tokens, words in a language; instead, we accept the direct impression of the thing itself on our visual cortex. It's like tasting a fruit, smelling a rose, kissing a friend --- imminent contact with reality --- rather than reading a description of the event and reconstructing it in the imagination.

A lot of the problems most of us have in trying to make representational drawings can be overcome by getting rid of the labels and symbols that we learn unconsciously at an early age. (That's a major point of the excellent book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.) Moreover, many difficulties we encounter in life, trying to understand people and events, can be traced to our garbled efforts to translate from sensation into words. Language is wonderful --- it's the medium of thought itself --- but we have to remember that the symbol isn't the object. Things are what they are. Get real!

Thursday, July 15, 1999 at 21:53:07 (EDT) = 1999-07-15

TopicArt - TopicLanguage

(correlates: ThinkingEnvironments, OneThirdEach, NoSweat, ...)