Just when I think I know a little something, I find evidence that I have discerned nothing new. A half-a-millennium ago, Leonardo da Vinci saw the invisible and brought it to life in art and writing. He saw magic, wonder, and truth in Nature:
- “Simplistically is the ultimate sophistication”
- “In her (nature’s) inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous”
- “Nature never breaks her own laws”
I strive to keep things simple in my own writing and speaking. Via my books, within these Blog Posts, and on my web site, I have been urging readers to embrace four essential verbs: http://stevejonesgbh.com/essential-steps/ (Look; See; Feel; and Act). Recently, I have added a fifth — a precursor to the original four: Believe.
We have often heard and sometimes repeated the old adage, “Seeing is believing.” I have begun to reject such notion. Instead, I am now embracing, “Believing is seeing.” Looking reveals nothing unless we believe what we seek could be there. Without belief, I conclude, I will look only half-heartedly; seldom will we see what we do not believe; and such uninspired vision will rarely evoke feeling nor implore action. The photo below captures the truth that life and death in Nature seek balance. All things are cyclical; to every thing there is a season. I see da Vinci’s wisdom in this powerful image: simplicity; nothing wasted; immutable laws of Nature. I believe… and I find.
Distilling the Five Verbs
Have you noticed? Most of our fellow Earth travelers are oblivious to the world around them. They suffer the tyranny of the urgent… slaves to their digital devices… blinded by them. I urge those of you who read these words to release your self-enslaving shackles. Employ your senses; awaken; secure awareness.
Believing: I see lessons in Nature because I know they are there. Unless I believe, much will lie blind to my eye.
Looking: Many people flow through life with open eyes, yet remain unseeing. In the physical company of others, but distractedly somewhere else.
Aldo Leopold lamented our blind isolation from things of Nature: “Is education possibly a process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth? The goose who trades his is soon a pile of feathers.” Again, we are Blind… unaware.
Seeing: Looking in and of itself is not enough. What constitutes actually seeing? It’s looking purposely, attentively, and deeply. Mentally registering; observing context and meaning. Processing images and drawing conclusions. Most importantly, truly seeing involves perception sufficient to generate feelings of empathy and sparking the strength of commitment.
Feeling: Most of us recall the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A traveler lay robbed and beaten at the side of the road. The first passerby may have looked, but did not see. The second may have seen, but did not feel. The third looked, saw, and felt.
Acting: The Samaritan felt deeply enough to act. Helped the traveler to his feet; shared water; led him to food and shelter.
Looking is necessary but not sufficient. Seeing is essential yet not enough. Feeling is critical, yet still falls short. Only action yields results… makes a difference… changes lives. Little finds traction without belief.
Nothing in Nature succeeds without causal, purposeful action. The heron striking the frog has purpose. The sunflower following the sun’s arc from E to W has purpose. As does the falcon diving for the pigeon. Da Vinci observed, “There is no result in nature without a cause.” Action sustains us.
Rene Descartes wrote 381 years ago, “I think, therefore I am.” Yes, I know, he wrote it in Latin. I confidently assert today that “I believe, therefore I see Nature’s Wisdom. And I learn from her lessons.”
I show my two book covers below — they serve witness to my evolving understanding of Nature and her Wisdom. Although they certainly convey my sincere belief in looking, seeing, feeling, and acting, neither benefits from my January 2018 revelation that believing is a precursor to the original four.
This Blog Post’s Featured Image — I use a photograph that has accompanied at least one prior Post. Big Blue sheltering at a willow along our Big Blue Lake shoreline — nothing is more symbolic of my belief in and embrace of Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading.