“Learning how to see again” , written by Joseph Pieper is one of the readings of the Track A training during my internship in World Youth Alliance Middle East that really inspired me.
In his article, Pieper was talking about man’s ability to see going into decline because there is too much to see and we do not appreciate what is around us anymore. I agree with this idea since researchers claim that our brain has a wonderful little involuntarily regulating system called reticular activating system (RAS). It filters the information we perceive and let us only see the information that fits how we see the world. The latter confirms that our view is correct: we select the information that match who we think we are, our own belief and value system.
There are a lot of experiments that confirm this theory about our brain’s filter process but we can’t just rely on this idea as an excuse for the dwindling of our ability to see. The pace of our modern life as Pieper said “modern man’s restlessness and stress” is one of the major reasons for being unable “to see”. The internet, social network, smart phones, computers, HD televisions make us forget that real life is beautiful. We forget how to be amazed by its details: how to walk on the street and look around to admire the architecture of some buildings, people’s faces, flowers, and the small things that exist around us. It is very sad that we have become so addicted to technology that we forgot how to enjoy life’s little moments.
Do you remember the last time you went outside to enjoy an astonishing natural piece of art? Do you remember how many times you stopped in front of the flower shop, not to buy flowers but just to smell and look at the beautiful floral combinations? Do you even remember the last time you went to an art exhibition and tried to live the story of each master piece?
During my internship in Lebanon this summer, I went to Jeita Grotto; One of the world’s most amazing agglomerations of stalactites and stalagmites. It is widely considered to be the pride of Lebanon and featured as a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition in 2011.
The experience of standing in front of the huge rocks – that my friend considered too boring – was breathtaking and phenomenal for me and I was rendered speechless. When you deeply focus on it, you start seeing other things you hadn’t noticed at first sight such as mushrooms and faces shaped in the stones. It was a really wonderful moment and exercise for my inner eyes. It reminded me that as much new, modern and sophisticated technology is beautiful; real, natural and simple life details are much better.
I believe that we all need to “Stop and smell the flowers”, and by saying so I don’t mean to literally smell the flower. It is a metaphor to awaken each one of us to stop rushing, stop working late because time flies. Stop and enjoy each day, each minute and each moment . Each one you miss, is a time lost that you cannot bring back.
By Faten Chibani, intern at the World Youth Alliance Middle East.