Sight and sensibility

ISBN: 0874779898
ISBN 13: 9780874779899
By: Laura Sewall David Abram

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Reader's Thoughts

Jason Johnson

Most excellent examination of the role perception plays in our lives... highly recommended for anyone doing diagnosis (especially TCM or psychological), anyone interested in mindfulness or meditation designed to increase awareness/ perception... i intend to buy several copies -- one for myself, another to lend, some as gifts...


Sight and Sensibility is a very nice audit on seeing and perception. From an aerial view on vision to a primer on how the eye works, the author navigates the theme very well. She makes an admiral connection between nature and sight. She takes most of the book to do so, but it's worthwhile. Essentially she says that nature is something we see and even enjoy as a backdrop rather than something that we are 'in' and 'of'. I enjoyed her perspective on the fact that what we actually see is conditioned in some ways I would add "programmed" by our culture, gender, experience and other personal factors. What are the implications of this as we engage others in life? The implications as to how we have understood life, others, history, etc.? Her viewpoint on how sight and perception works is quite informative. Particularly what we notice, how we focus, and what we choose to pay attention to. However, she lost me halfway through the book as she began describing her many walks in the mountains, meadows, and woods. I can only take a very detailed description of how her bare feet felt as they touched the ground and her skin absorbed the bug-filled forest once or twice. I get the point the first time... ok, maybe by the second dull narrative. After recounting more than half a dozen experiences I napped for several days... between each one. Maybe that's why it took me so long to finish the book. Or maybe I'm not at the place where I can see or experience nature to it's fullest yet. My senses may not be that developed. Or maybe I begin to tune out when I hear about others seeing God better, themselves better, experiencing life more fully only when they withdraw from the city and/or other people. Can we not see and experience nature in the 'hood? How it reveals itself through the cracks in the streets and sidewalks? Through the rich colors of its diversity? Through the noise of humanity? Through the silence of the rich and wealthy? I believe we can, and some of us do. Overall a very good book. I will read it again.

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