This is the stage where we focus on one particular thing, before we begin interacting with it.
This may be anything from the tap to turn on to get a glass of water to the contradiction in a sophisticated philosophical argument that has taken us years to locate. It is a time of concentration and focus on one thing to the exclusion of others. The thing we are concerned with ‘captures our attention’.
This stage can get lost if we rush to doing things. It helps to be clear where what we are interested in ‘fits’ with the world around. If we don’t take the time to know exactly where the tap is we may bang our hand, if we don’t locate the exact contradiction we may spend years in futile analysis and speculation.
It can be especially important not to neglect this stage in our relationships. Our first impressions of other people form very quickly. And these can be very valuable – if we have a sense of fear it may be because the other person is dangerous. Or if we feel immediately attracted to someone it may be because they are a genuinely caring person.
Whether our first impression turns out to be right or not it is worth staying with it.
It is worth finding out what it is that we like or dislike. It may be that the person just has a physical feature that reminds us of someone (good or bad) from our past. (The most potent are reminders of our parents – a major part of falling in love and getting married: but that is the subject for another post.) If so this may be of little significance. Or it may be that tones of voice or gesture demonstrate attitudes which are close to ours or very different.
By staying with this stage of our experience we sharpen our perception. It is a necessary part of developing ‘taste’ in the arts and will help us be more astute in how we negotiate our relationships.
To get a taste of this stage try the following experiments.
- Find an art work that you like (song, painting, sculpture, whatever). Instead of stopping with this conclusion see if you can isolate what it is that you like.
- Find an art work that you dislike (song, painting, sculpture, whatever). Instead of stopping with this conclusion see if you can isolate what it is that you dislike.
- Think of someone you like a lot. What is it about them? Looks? Manner of speech? Particular things they do? The particular way they do things?
- Think of someone you dislike a lot. What is it about them? Looks? Manner of speech? Particular things they do? The particular way they do things?
The other articles in this series are: