Monday, May 11, 2009

Eyes so glad I have them

So, I was walking from work to the train station today and couldn't help but notice along the way that there was this guy welding something to the back of his truck, and he wasn't wearing safety glasses. Now, my father is a carpenter and I've worked in a couple factories, so I know that using a blowtorch without wearing eye protection is stupid. And I assumed that anyone that actually did welding for their job would know that. As I was thinking about how that guy was an idiot, I boarded the train back home and opened a book I haven't touched since last summer. Its this collection of Leonardo DaVinci's notebooks containing his observations on life, nature, art, the universe, pretty much anything, it's pretty neat. Anyway, I opened it up to where I left off some 8 or 9 months ago and by some strange coincidence the page I was on was talking about eyes. Although he goes into detail for several pages about how eyes work, it was more his introduction that, how should I say it... caught my eye?

"The eye which is the window of the soul is the chief organ whereby the understanding can have the most complete and magnificent view of the infinite works of nature.

"Now do you not see that the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world? . . . It counsels and corrects all the arts of mankind . . . it is the prince of mathematics, and the sciences founded on it are absolutely certain. It has measured the distances and sizes of the stars; it has discovered the elements and their location . . . it has given birth to architecture and to perspective and to the divine art of painting.

"O excellent thing, superior to all others created by God! What praises can do justice to your nobility? What peoples, what tongues will fully describe your function? The eye is the window of the human body through which it feels its way and enjoys the beauty of the world. Owing to the eye the soul is content to stay in its bodily prison, for without it such bodily prison is torture.

"O marvellous, O stupendous necessity, thou with supreme reason compellest all effects to be the direct result of their causes; and by a supreme and irrevocable law every natural action obeys thee by the shortest possible process. Who would believe that so small a space could contain the images of all the universe? O mighty process! What talent can avail to penetrate a nature such as these? What tongue will it be that can unfold so great a wonder? Verily none! This it is that guides the human discourse to the considering of divine things. Here the forms, here the colours, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point. What point is so marvellous? O wonderful, O stupendous necessity - by thy law thou constrainest every effect to be the direct result of its cause by the shortest path. These are miracles . . . forms already lost, mingled together in so small a space it can recreate and recompose by expansion. Describe in thy anatomy what proportion there is between the diameters of all the lenses (spetie) in the eye and the distance from these to the crystalline lens.

"The eye whereby the beauty of the world is reflected is of such excellence that whoso consents to its loss deprives himself of the representation of all the works of nature. The soul is content to stay imprisoned in the human body because thanks to our eyes we can see these things; for through the eyes all the various things of nature are represented to the soul. Whoso loses his eyes leaves his soul in a dark prison without hope of ever again seeing the sun, light of all the world; How many there are to whom the darkness of night is hateful though it is of but short duration; what would they do if such darkness were to be their companion for life?"

From: Leonardo DaVinci Notebooks, Oxford University Press. pg 105-106

Quite the introduction. He didn't even get to the scientific part yet. But man, I never realised how great eyes are. It's like, we've always had them so its so easy to take them for granted, but man, eyes are freaking awesome! All the images of every part of the universe contracted to a point. That welder is probably going to be blind soon and he has no idea how big a mistake that would be. It makes me feel sorry for people that are blind, because they are really missing out on what is whithout question the greatest of the five senses. It was a grey, cloudy day in Oakville today, and I was glad to be able to see it.

EDIT: what's with these non-art posts? My blog is tuning into...a blog (shivers)


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Jeremy Canton said...

Man I read through all this.

Nice words :)

I love reading observations and artistic views and 'deep' thinking - so by all means, go ahead, post without art!

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