Due to Goethe’s unique manner of observation while seeing, he was able to recognize a total organization or unity of the world while noting the diversity of its parts.
Observing in Goethe’s manner, when one observes a phenomenon a person needs to be more active in their seeing than what is usually done. We tend to think about seeing as just opening our eyes in front of an event and we are observing something that is flowing toward us, into our consciousness, through our senses. In Goethe’s manner of seeing, we look from ourselves toward the phenomenon. This is accomplished through putting our attention into seeing, so that we really do see what we are seeing, rather than just having impressions imprinting themselves upon our consciousness.
Goethe’s goal through the use of this discipline was to bring the observer into a deeper contact with each experience, in a manner that was not possible, by just having a momentary intellectual thought regarding an event that came in through the eye.
“Imagine cutting an orange. We see the knife and orange simply as separate entities which are brought together externally in space and sequentially in time.” Through Goethe’s discipline, what is added to our normal experience, is bringing our attention to the act of cutting the orange, instead of the separate entities which are brought together. If this is done, the process of cutting can be experienced simultaneously as one whole, as if it were one present moment instead of a linear sequence of instants.”
We generally operate mentally through observing linear sequences of various states or actions. We get involved in describing changes rather than being in the moment with the ultimate reality of the situation or phenomenon taking place. Through this change in seeing, one is not altering their consciousness but realizing the relationship and togetherness of various elements that are before their eyes.
This manner of seeing involves placing attention into seeing rather than just allowing the intellectual mind to instantaneously catalogue some event or action and store it in the mind. Placing greater attention into seeing, will transform routine phenomenon into deeper meaningful experiences that carry an individual from an ordinary intellectual manner of living, to a more rich and varied world of sensory perception.
As an example, in the case of a person viewing two leaves, “the intellectual mind is concerned with what is common to them, in other words immediately decides they are both leaves, and overlooks the individual differences between them. In the exact sensorial imagination, the leaves are not uniform and have endless variety as well as being rich in diversity.”
When our consciousness is redirected into an organ of perception, looking into the world rather than just receiving input through our eyes, ‘the mind functions intuitively instead of intellectually.’ Through this discipline of placing the event into the imaginative state, intuition is activated and stimulated within an individual. It is a subject that has deep ramifications and can open our awareness to greater perceptions. I have shared only basic aspects of Goethe’s discipline in order to bring this concept into your awareness.
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