thoughts on ‘seeing is believing’

I love astrologer Caroline W. Casey’s advice, “Believe nothing, entertain possibilities.” Love it. LOVE. IT. Recently, this idea has been bringing to mind the phrase “seeing is believing”. (Yes dear reader, I am indeed profoundly fond of aphorisms, thanks for noticing.)

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Now follow me down this side-path for just a moment:

Have you ever head the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”? If so, it was likely within the context of trying to dissuade a curious person – as in, don’t be a fool. Well actually, the full phrase goes more like, “curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back”. (This connects to the cats-having-nine-lives thing and is vaguely alchemical, but anyway!) So basically, this saying was intended to encourage curiosity – not extinguish it. This is a lovely example of humanity’s game of Telephone. So please, let’s all be Fool’s and try not to take everything so seriously.

Back to our regularly scheduled (hahaha jk) programming:

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The meaning behind ‘seeing is believing’ can swing in polar directions. You have the capitalist empiricist version which is all about what the eyeballs are capable of perceiving, what the hands are capable of physically touching – all about concrete, re-producible proof. In this way, all critical thinking and spiritual meaning is null and void. If you see it, there it is, no argument, piece of cake, that’s reality, bam done. In this way, ‘seeing is believing’ smashes the multi-dimensionality of existence & experience into a flat pancake of unquestionableness.

However, this phrase can also take on a powerfully philosophical and spiritual meaning. Seeing pertains to the eyeballs & brain when taken directly and concretely – but language is oh so much more than that, and so is the concept of seeing. Think of when someone explains a riddle to you, and your response is “Oh, I see!”

Seeing can refer to understanding, comprehending, realizing, ‘putting two and two together’. Taken with this broader idea of seeing, the phrase ‘seeing is believing’ refers to a critically-questioned spirituality and/or personal philosophy. Instead of swallowing scripture dogmatically, this is the process of “entertaining possibility”, this is taking a spiritual lesson and testing it in the fires of experience to really¬†see how it works. Only after seeing, after personally experiencing, do you truly believe – like, in opposition to blind faith.

In this way, instead of tacitly agreeing with how others explain life, “seeing is believing” encourages a questioning outlook where life is a series of adventures to be tasted and tested and navigated via our own [personal, unique, intersectional] sight.

 

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