quote analysis: see with eyes closed (archived post)

by benjamin hollon on december 31, 2019

I thought it fitting to open up this blog by reflecting a bit on the ideas that I'm trying to put into it. As I was looking through quotes before creating this blog, one of the most significant concepts that stood out to me was that of seeing with your eyes closed, the idea that the most important things to notice are sometimes ones that you cannot see with your eyes. One quote that captured this idea was a quote from The Little Prince:

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Sometimes we have to stop relying on what we see around us and trust in what we believe is right or wrong to guide us. For, as Saint-Exupéry points out, "what is essential is invisible to the eye."

One time when this concept can present itself is when you have a choice between two things. When trying to use logic to decide, neither option seems any better than the other. You have to stop listening to what logic tells you and look to what you believe is right for guidance.

In fact, in addition to this, I would like to present a new idea: we should always be listening to what is morally right rather than to logic. Saint-Exupéry doesn't say that you can see rightly with the heart sometimes, but that it is only with the heart that one can see rightly. Often, logos, the logically best option, gets in the way of ethos, the right thing to do. We need to be careful that our logos doesn't blind us to what ethos instructs. We have to set priorities. If you say that something is right or wrong, but keep making exceptions to the rules, you'll end up with a very confusing decision-making process. Today, I challenge you to decide what is right and wrong and then stick to it. See with your heart, not your eyes.

Another quote that I felt spoke on the theme of See With Eyes Closed was this quote from The Phantom Tollbooth:

"[I]f something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed." - Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

This quote presents a significantly different way of looking at the idea. Juster, instead of speaking of the importance of how you make your decisions, is speaking of a literal method of seeing differently. Juster challenges us not only to see what seems to be there but actually is there. We don't only want to look at the options that are apparent or obvious, but all the options that are actually helpful or ethically right.

The implications of this quote come back around to the idea Saint-Exupéry presented. By juxtaposing the views in both quotes, we end up with a complete thought: we need to take in not only what is apparent or obvious, but also what is obscure or invisible and then use our ethos, not our pathos, to judge between all of the possibilities.

I've found this to be a crucial concept. I decided to name this blog See With Eyes Closed as a reminder to myself and to anyone who happens to read it that our decisions are no longer only what seems to be logically correct, but also what is ethically right. Also, we need to make sure that we look past the apparent options in our life and look at all the possibilities that our hearts might find to be valid.

Wherever you are in your life, let that be a guiding principle to you.

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