“One must always tell what one sees.”
So many great conversations never happen. There is nothing like sharing insights with a friend into things that matter, and even things that don’t matter so much. But why is it so difficult?
One of the great paradoxes of our day is that with seemingly limitless outlets for ‘sharing’ thoughts, so little deep sharing actually happens. We are often stifled, cut off, and isolated. In the cacophony of words, it is difficult to say the things we want to say. We are beginning to realize that the tools billed as making connections have in fact undermined them, with devastating consequences even in our close relationships.
“Tell what one sees.” Peguy’s statement might seem a warning against mendacity. It certainly includes that. For, given the beauty of what we see, how could we willingly speak falsehood? The truth is always better.
But speaking falsehood is not the only alternative to ‘telling what one sees.’ One could simply not tell. Perhaps the main reason is that we don’t have a context to do so. We need friends of a certain kind, and habits of conversation with them.
This provides an amazing angle into the place of friendship in human life. Having someone to tell. This is the heart of true friendship, as well as a flourishing marriage: here we are drawn to tell what we see. And our vision becomes keener. We have more reason to see, from the incomparable joy of sharing and so seeing together.
If we have no such reliable context for telling what we see, our vision actually grows dull. Why bother straining to see the deeper things? We turn to focus on what demands attention rather than what inspires contemplation. So we get by, and our life is very different from what it could be.
Peguy is right: one must tell what one sees. Today, this calls for prioritizing friendship and the contexts that conduce to real sharing, and real presence. To see by oneself is scarcely to see. Seeing and sharing, seeing together, is to come alive. One of those oh-so-simple things of immeasurable value, always in our power, if we but choose and cultivate it. ~ ~ ~
Today’s LifeCraft VIDEO: How to Balance My Needs and My Family’s Needs…
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Very spot on: “the tools billed as making connections have in fact undermined them,”
And we must do our best to reckon with it!
John, I enjoyed this reflection.
In my dotage, I’ve embarked on learning how to oil paint by watching video tutorials. The one recurring admonition by accomplished artists is, “Paint what you see.” Therein lies the beginnings of Beauty because it seeks the Truth. An accurate reflection of Reality necessitates Truth and its effect – Beauty.
Deacon Edward, Sounds wonderful. I’ve started a little more simply, by working on sketching in pencil. Paint what you see, indeed! It can be harder than it seems, both on the seeing and the painting side.
I, too, call this instrument for digging a foxhole a spade.