Looking But Not Understanding

This is my 11th NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt – Write an Ottava Rima or write on the theme of vision. The Ottava Rima is an Italian form with an 8 line stanza having 11 syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of: abababcc.

All men look to the sky when they cannot sleep
Search the stars and void of space for answers there
Attempt to unravel mysteries so deep
With clear vision reveal God to others, share
In the morning bleary eyes saw angels weep
Hallucinations, demons the crowds declare
In their disbelief they run from what was seen
Calling what the visionaries saw obscene

We are a cynical and skeptical race. We require proof positive and concrete evidence. This permeates all aspects of life from our courts of law to our science labs and even in our relationships with others. And yet we pick and choose what we will believe proclaiming that our version is truth and all other versions are lies. Often our belief is based on word of mouth that would not pass muster in a courtroom. This faith comes and goes, it waxes and wanes. Would we believe based on another’s testimony or do we need to see and hear and feel for ourselves? And even then, having a first hand experience, would we understand what we saw?

I am not having an existential crisis. I am however wondering how I perceive the truth and evaluating how I process information. Is it a shift in my perceptions? I don’t think so but it is a fair bit of navel gazing. Which far too many people forego. I think we need to do a little introspection from time to time and be open to seeing a different point of view.

66 thoughts on “Looking But Not Understanding

    1. Thanks! It is going to be a really nice one – no hamsters, no workplace commitments, having the inlaws over for liver and onions… if only the weather improves! How’s the job going??

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  1. Which far too many people forego. I think we need to do a little introspection from time to time and be open to seeing a different point of view.

    If only this were a practice that all of humanity, regardless of belief and inclination, were willing to employ…

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    1. David, I’m glad this resonated with you. I tend to do some “deep thinking” on a regular basis. The turmoil in the world gets to me and when presented with “facts” that contradict each other it makes me need to delve in and sort it out. Sometime there is clarity and other times an eidetic vision eludes me. I do agree that introspection is necessary and desirable.

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  2. It’s an interesting and frustrating time we live in – not always knowing the truth because it’s suppressed, sometimes believing Facebook or the neighbor over science, investing in questionable faith. It’s difficult for people to not be cynical if they do not keep an open mind or understand differing viewpoints. I don’t consider myself skeptical, but the gray areas and fine lines of this world can bring a bit of fear. An open, free-thinking society is good as long as we respectfully share and don’t harshly inflict ourselves upon others.

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    1. Amen! Right now it seems that respect and tolerance have flown. Our society has become so polarized on so many issues that no point of view is safe from attack… Another reason I don’t advertise my political affiliation on my car!!

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    1. Yes Stephanie, there is a great deal of discernment required. Some react with the heart and others the head. It would be nice if there was a more measured and thoughtful response after weighing information instead of jumping to conclusions!

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  3. Introspection is important to self-knowledge; self-knowledge is important to learning to discern between reality and illusion, and the statement, “I don’t know,” is important to everything.

    I know that I’m sick of wearing a mask (not easy with asthma) I’m sick of Covid shots I’m sick of the misery of politics in this country and I think a lot of things about the invasion of Ukraine that I will never say. All that said — I will wear a mask, I have gotten all my shots, I know all I can do is vote, and Ukraine? Really what difference does my opinion make? So there we are. My personal preference has nothing to do with what is objectively right.

    As for God — I decided a while back that I was happier believing in God than not, whether or not there is God in any objective sense. My belief does not create objective truth and it doesn’t need to. Plenty of people on both sides of that argument will dispute it with me but so what? That’s a thing each person has to determine for him/herself. ❀

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    1. I like your reasoning on all points. Belief is a personal thing and one that many either choose lightly or refuse to ponder. I’m a big proponent in knowing self. Being self aware is a step toward understanding why and how we do and think in life. I was always the one who after stating “I don’t know.” went on to ask “Why?” and I’d do the work to ferret out the answers. Sparky gave me side-eye when I wore a mask at the grocery store. Funny thing was that he was in the unmasked minority!

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  4. Oops. I went to the Ottava Rima site you linked to and thought it said 10 syllable lines, in iambic pentameter. I jotted so many notes that day, who knows. Loved your poem, how often do our own predispositions keep us from seeing what is really there? I have been told I’m good at distancing myself from my own ideas enough to maintain objectivity, but I’m not sure that’s true, of myself or anyone else. The lens we look through distorts what we see.

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    1. Hehe! I think 8 lines is easier than ten and a straight 11 syllables is easier than iambic pentameter! I don’t know if there is truly anyone who does not have some bias. However being aware of the distortion is the first step in seeing more clearly…

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    1. Thanks so much Punam! Open mind + close mouth = growth, at least sometimes… We live in an ever smaller world and it is important to listen and actually hear what other opinions and beliefs are held by neighbors far and near…

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  5. Truth is a subjective thing, as much as we wish it wasn’t. We filter all the facts we see and hear through our own perspectives, and thereby arrive at different conclusions about the exact same thing. That’s why I agree with you that self-knowledge is so important. Once I can recognize my own bias, it helps me be much more objective about the world around me. Great post! I love ones that make me think!

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    1. Thanks tons Ann! Thinking seems to be in short supply. Being aware of the lenses through which we view people, places, events and other things can definitely bring things into clearer focus. Being willing to change based on new information is another hurdle we need to jump in pursuit of the truth…

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  6. this resonates very deeply with me Val!

    Too often we adopt the belief of our family/society without fully investigating what it means personally for ourselves. Once we have done that navel gazing we seldom find all the answers but it certainly opens our heart to know that no one dogma is right or wrong … we embrace what fits for us and that varies from one person to another!

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  7. We Baha’is are told to investigate truth for ourselves and to bring ourselves to account each day. That pretty much takes care of “He said, she said and the truth”.

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