“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” For some reason this quote of Helen Keller’s recently brought back to me memories of a blind childhood friend named Tommy. He lived down the block from me and had a 2-person bicycle which I thought was the coolest thing in the world! We would sometimes ride around the neighborhood and one day I was describing something to Tommy which I told him was red. He became a bit testy with me and replied, “That doesn’t help me to ‘see’ it! I have never seen color so I have no idea what ‘red’ is!”
Since that childhood day I have often reflected upon sight, seeing and vision. Being an artist one of my deepest secret fears is that of going blind and of not being able to wallow in color! Ms Keller’s quote goes much deeper than the organs that we call our eyes! The real blindness of which she speaks is to have functioning eyes yet to have a heart whose closed-ness makes them unaware of the larger picture to what is seen!
Another of her well-known quotes points to deeper insight: “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” Self-pity is a form of blindness, a pity-party thrown by the self-centered individual. It’s ironic that a self-centered person can turn inward and focus on themselves in this way, not searching for self-awareness but for self-adoration… a form of moral blindness! In addition to self-pity there are other ways to blind the heart. For example taking pleasure in the misfortune of others like when the obnoxious co-worker gets chewed out in front of other workers, when the bully from our childhood gets cancer, or when our ex-spouse or ex-friend falls on hard times.
So how can we “see” what we don’t see? The answer is by presuming that there are realities to which we are blind, that there is more self-awareness needed and by striving to stay open to the vision of insight… which comes wherever it is ardently yearned for!