‘Transforming ordinary perception into creative vision’ (Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline)

July 9, 2015

An article by the late Colin Wilson, published in Philosophy Now:

“What is the trick of transforming ordinary perception into creative vision?

“We can begin by noting that poets do it all the time, so do great painters like Van Gogh. Read Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’ and you can feel the ‘phenomenological vision’. Or look at a great painting by Van Gogh or Vlaminck or Soutine. When I was working in a tax office in Rugby in my teens, I remember my boss saying with disgust that he thought Van Gogh simply distorted everything he painted. He was missing the point: that Van Gogh was saying: “This is how I see things when I put on my creative spectacles.” Rupert Brooke said that on a spring morning he sometimes walked down a country road feeling almost sick with excitement.

“Brooke realised that he could bring on this feeling by looking at things in a certain way. And what was really happening when he did this was that he had somehow become aware that he could see more, become aware of more, by looking at things as if they possessed hidden depths of meaning. For it is true. He was becoming conscious of the intentional element in perception, that his ‘seeing’ was in itself a creative act….

“The mind can deliberately change the way it sees things. Brooke tells how he can wander about a village wild with exhilaration:

 

‘And it’s not only beauty and beautiful things. In a flicker of sunlight on a blank wall, or a reach of muddy pavement, or smoke from an engine at night, there’s a sudden significance and importance and inspiration that makes the breath stop with a gulp of certainty and happiness. It’s not that the wall or the smoke seem important for anything or suddenly reveal any general statement, or are suddenly seen to be good or beautiful in themselves – only that for you they’re perfect and unique. It’s like being in love with a person… I suppose my occupation is being in love with the universe.’

“We can grasp what Ricoeur meant by ‘the very seeing is discovered as a doing’.”

via Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline | Issue 56 | Philosophy Now

Read the entire article by Colin Wilson at Phenomenology as a Mystical Discipline | Issue 56 | Philosophy Now.

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