Can You See What is Right in Front of You?

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

I wanted to share this page from Henri Bortoft’s book The Wholeness of Nature – Goethe’s Way of Science. This section articulates the shift into a holistic mode of seeing a phenomena in its wholeness.

Credit: Henri Bortoft (1996)

Credit: Henri Bortoft (1996)

What Henri is doing is drawing our attention to our regular mode of consciousness which in our daily lives we pay no attention to. In psychology, there is the notion of automatisation, which refers to the way in which we are conditioned to continually make unconscious leaps from our sensory experience into mental abstraction.

Because this process is so automatic, we have to make a huge, and at times uncomfortable effort back into the sensory way of seeing, and this is where we discover wholeness within experience.

In this way of seeing we develop our faculty intuition, which allows us to see a phenomenon in all its depth. This is a very different approach to understanding experience, in contrast to moving as quickly as possible into the development of psychological constructs.

I see people creating psychological constructs all the time in the world of business, constructs which have had little to zero psychological testing or validation, but at times wide acceptance. There’s nothing wrong with a well-constructed construct, but much of the time people fail to see in the first place that they are in fact constructing!

So what do you see? Thousands of birds flying, or flying?

When we are mindful, we have the ability to shift beyond our habitual awareness and shift into a direct experience of what is right in front of us.

Credit: Simon Robinson

Credit: Simon Robinson

This is not just some academic question. And it does not just relate to questions relating to the design of customer experiences. It relates to the way in which we develop and understand our relationships with others in the world. Can we really see not just what but who is right in front of us?

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