“But love… adds a precious seeing to the eye…” Shakespeare
“Where there is love, there is vision.” Thomas Aquinas
We humans are made to see. We are also made to be seen. I think that often what really hurts us in our relationships is that we do not feel understood.
Seeing reality takes much cultivation, and likewise if we are really to be seen by others much is required—both on their part and on ours.
There is something scary about this dependence on others. What if they just cannot or will not see us? Herein is part of the mystery of being made for relationship, in which there is always an element of free gift.
Central in this mystery is the role of love, and how it empowers vision. Shakespeare and Thomas Aquinas both point to this amazing reality. Love brings into focus what is really there. It alone unveils the true beauty of a person.
Have we not experienced this—perhaps from both sides? The mother, the father, the spouse, the true friend: when they really love well, they look with an appreciative eye. They perceive who the other is, and who he can be. And behold, they are now able also to give the beloved a vision of himself, and the very confidence to be himself, and to become himself! So love gives vision to lover and to beloved, through the lover.
Especially in painful interactions with those closest to us, are we not often yearning simply to be seen? If someone could just understand—with a gentle and forgiving eye, then we would not be alone anymore. We would be together. In knowledge, and in love.
But again, is this in my power to bring about? Most directly in my power is the quality of my own love. I can focus on learning and practicing to love better and to see better, and so be life-giving to others. And behold, by an unalterable law I thereby become more lovable—in a sense calling forth, though never demanding or assuring, the love of my beloved. And so also his vision.
Here once again love has given vision: first in the lover for the beloved, then in the beloved for himself, and now—perhaps!—in the beloved for the lover, through a return of love. And finally, this gives a greater vision in the original lover for himself, through the eyes of the beloved.
A ‘precious seeing’ indeed! Is this not human life itself? It all begins in love—a love we first learn to receive, and then we learn to give, and receive back. And to live-in together.
Image: Caravaggio, Portrait of a Knight of Malta
Join the Community.
Become a LifeCraft Member and gain access to our online courses and exclusive content. It's FREE of charge. Period.
If you join as a contributing member, you will help make this content available to an increasing audience and enable me to spend more time in this work. I thank you in advance.
Join the LifeCraft community today and get access to:
- Man of the Household (Course)
- Woman of the Household (Course)
- Concepts Made Clear (Mini-course)
- Dinner at Home (Mini-course)
“...from enjoying the imitation, they come to enjoy the reality.” Socrates, in Plato’s Republic If Socrates is correct then we have in music a remarkable opportunity to expand our souls. We also have the danger of deforming them. Reading good books is an irreplaceable...
“Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vain.” Aristotle, Politics “Can you deny that a woman is by nature very different from a man?” Plato, Republic It is not surprising that the most controversial, and personally challenging, moral issues of our day touch...
"The household is the association established by nature for the supply of man's everyday wants." Aristotle, Politics Experience shows that changes that happen slowly can go almost unnoticed, even when they have significant negative consequences. Perhaps the most...
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.