The enchanting “On looking: Eleven walks with expert eyes” by the fabulous Alexandra Horowitz is undoubtedly the most stimulating book of the year and a must-read! Alexandra is a scientist that guides us through the art of looking and how it should, and it could be learned. She makes many interesting points about perception, time and the surroundings.
Seeing something that you have already seen a thousand times, yet with different eyes and an entirely different viewpoint can be fascinating.
Very few of us have mastered the art of looking — the rest miss on vital parts of the everyday world. We very often choose to ignore these parts or information.
She compares herself and her experiences of a place with the ones her dog had. She even admitted that with walking down the same path so many times she became a sleepwalker. It was then when she realized that no matter how everything may seem just the same — it is not.
The author warns us to attend the reality with full consciousness and accepts the art of observation. Being more focused will show us how something we thought was familiar, clearly is not.
The observations we get are the result of what we choose to attend or focus.
What we see is dependent on how past experiences shape our minds.
She argues how we do see new things and places, but we, in fact, don’t bother to look closely. She explains how in order to see something extraordinary out of something very simple and ordinary one has to have a unique talent which takes a very patient cultivation. She tries to point out that how people observe things is dependent on their past experiences, their desires, and their beliefs.
Alexandra takes an unyielding attitude that one has limitless possibilities of perception.
The most interesting fact about this book is that the author explains the perception of the same objects and the same route through the eyes of different personas. You can learn a lot more, and expand your views just by reading the expert points of views.
At the very end of this amazing book, Alexandra concentrates on explaining how to understand the importance of the two very different terms “attention” and “intention.”
We need to focus on being more present, more curious and more creative. We need to train ourselves and our brains, not to see things only on the surface, but dig deeper and seek for explanations. It is only then when one will learn the art of looking and discover a whole new meaning of life.