“I see” and “I look”. Do they have the same meaning?

Λευκή Κουκουβάγια

«Look» and «See».

Two verbs with similarities, but also with differences

by Fotini Tyraski

The wise Greek language has many words to characterize the meaning of “seeing”, for example, see, view, look, watch, observe, keep an eye on, look after, focus, perceive, be aware of, concentrate, inspect, examine and more. If we pay close attention to the verbs “look” and “see”, which are often used, there seems to be a difference which few people realize.

The verb “look” is used when someone is referring to what his eyes see. That is, a person looks at somebody or something, by laying his eyes on the object. However, using the verb “see”, other than the physical objects, someone can see with his mind! In doing so, he can see dreams, visions, see the future, see with the eyes of the heart, see with the eyes of imagination, etc.

This example reveals how much information a man’s brain and mind can apprehend without using his eyes. The meaning of “seeing” is a situation that is associated more with the mind of a person and less with the eyes. It has been noted that many times someone can be standing in front of a closet, a shelf or an open refrigerator, searching for something that is right in front of his eyes. He is looking at the object, but he doesn’t see it, because his mind doesn’t seem to perceive it.

Λευκή Κουκουβάγια
Owl, symbol of Sophia and the goddess Athena

When someone uses his eyes, the stimuli from his environment are many. What and how does the mind and soul perceive these stimuli?

What does our consciousness pick up and what passes into our subconscious?

We should keep in mind, that the eyes and ears of a person record everything, even when he is asleep. However, more information is recorded in our subconscious than in our conscious because we take in a lot of information, in little time. We can use hypnosis to extract information from the subconscious. This might help someone remember details that weren’t recorded in his conscious.

As nothing in nature is random, it is important to state that the hours a person sleeps takes up about 1/3 of his life. The process of sleep helps our organism to rest, revives body cells and it can also help us come in contact with our inner self that is connected to the Whole. This subconscious function and its use have been underestimated, so sleep remains in people’s minds as essential only for the body to rest, just as the subconscious and its use have been underestimated, although the subconscious contains a lot of information and greatly contributes to a person’s health and mental stability.

Sigmund Freud

In reality however, every external stimulus, virtual, audible or of other nature, transmits messages into the subconscious of a person, whether he is aware of it or not! So, in the famous and ambiguous picture of Freud, the famous doctor is holding “just a cigar”, as he stated, but the way he holds it, insinuates sexual intercourse. As of course the opening of a champagne bottle refers to a celebration and that of a special occasion, but it can also symbolize the climax of sexual intercourse, especially when a bottle is opened for a woman during the scene of the courting, by a cinema heart breaker, famous spy…

Because of the size of the male sexual organ in ancient Greek statues, many admirers might have a reasonable question… “Why were ancient Greeks depicted with small penises?”. However, studying the history of Art one can safely say that Ancient Greek Art emanated spiritual values in most works of Art that decorated temples, cemeteries, or places where they praised the Divine, Beauty and Harmony, as of course there were signified messages or symbolisms that were emitted from these works. So that’s why diminution of the male sexual organ emphasized the spiritual and not the earthy.

Of course, there are works made, during a certain time, when the decadence of this spirituality started, where enormous male sexual organs were depicted thus symbolizing and emphasizing the earthy instincts and sexual desires. This has also happened in many other civilizations in the past.

The symbolisms are usually depictions of well-known objects that refer to signified meanings, that deepen into other intellectual fields containing further information. Such common examples are:

Eagle – Photo by Frank Cone

• the bird Eagle, that symbolically refers to Leadership, Imposition and Supervision. It is also about Military Intervention, Attack and the Air Forces.

Lion and its symbolism

the Lion symbolizes Imperial Authority, Power, Hereditary (rightful), Reign, Domination, and also the Sun and its rays. 

According to the Code, the letter –Λ– (-L-), of the Greek word ΛΕΩΝ (LION), signifies solar energy and spiritual illumination of a higher spiritual level. Even in Astrology, the zodiac sign of Leo is governed by the Sun and is related to the Solar Plexus in the body (3rd Energy Center – Stomach).  

Taking into consideration the philosophical theory ‘Whatever is up is also down’, man is the reflection of the universe. His natural sun is at the level of his stomach where the grounding and the assimilation of food takes place. The level of mans’ spiritual sun is on the head. So, there he has an “ουρανίσκο” (“small sky” in Greek / palate), that separates the earthy from the heavenly, leaving under his “sky” the earthy senses (touch and taste), while from the level of the palate and up, function the higher senses (hearing, vision, smell and intuition). The higher senses are assisted by the spirit, when they have spiritual background and in such cases man can “hear voices”…, he can see visions and dreams, he can smell myrrh near a miraculous icon or sense a danger approaching.

βλέπω και κοιτώ
the Owl

The Owl, as the sacred bird of goddess Athena, symbolizes Wisdom, Knowledge and Insight.

Why did the ancient Greeks choose the specific bird and not another to express the meaning of Wisdom and Wise man? Looking at Zoology can help us answer many questions, but mostly makes us admire the attentiveness of those, who use the qualities of an animal or a bird, to express a multilateral meaning which might also have a philosophical hue.

The Owl («Γλαυξ» in ancient Greek Language, meaning “the glowing” or “the shiny”, referring to the bird with glowing eyes) as a bird, has unique abilities that are similar to the characteristics of a Wise man.

  • It has amazing hearing, as a wise man needs to have so that he can hear and record everything.
  • It has sharp sight and can fly with precision, even in total darkness, as a wise man doesn’t need his eyes to understand the things that are near him or are happening around him.
  • It is an excellent hunter as a wise man who never loses track of his goal.
  • It has a stereoscopic vision (almost 270o), as a wise man who has the ability to examine a topic in all aspects and all its viewpoints, while of course he isn’t wearing blinders…
  • It flies noiselessly, as a wise man does when he passes by, unnoticed.
  • The owl has such plumage that it gives it the ability to integrate with the environment and not to become noticeable, as the “knowledge of the Truth” that can be in public view, but only a Wise man is in a position to distinguish it…

After all, someone can reach a conclusion that what the eye sees is not what the mind understands, as the mind of man:

  • many times, receives false information from the eyes. The terms “optical illusion” and “mirage” are well known…
  • analyses each information multidimensionally.
  •  is busy with different fields simultaneously, while mostly
  • it creates connections with all data – establishing multi-level beliefs.

Essentially, the Greek word ΑΝΤΙΛΗΨΙΣ (Comprehension, Perception) expresses the things that consciously end up in the brain, instead of the reception of information. According to the Greek Dictionary, «αντίληψις» means ‘to receive in return’, but also means ‘protection’, ‘help’, ‘contribution, assistance’, ‘attack’ and ‘opposition’. The perceptual ability of man is not only multi-level, but takes part in a «reactionary» process, which happens automatically at the subconscious level.

Our ancestors knew that what the eyes of man sees have nothing to do with the Truth since according to the famous Myth of the cave of Plato, man lives in the world of shadows, which is a fake world (Plato – Republic 514 – 515). In essence, Plato gives a virtual example so that he can differentiate between the meanings “Reality” (Πραγματικοτήτα) and “Truth” (Aλήθεια), but also the ramifications of an ineffective educational system, that forces people to see as real, only the things that appear in their close visual field, as they are tight and immobilized in a specific position. So, according to Plato, what is defined as real are the things that man apprehends in the cave (the perceptible world), while coming out to the light, outside the cave, he is in the position to distinguish the Truth (the intelligible world – the world of ideas). For man to come out to the spiritual light, he must free himself from the bonds of material things and senses and become capable of seeing outside the Cave, as the light is initially blinding… The continuation of this myth is also interesting, for whoever decides to study it!

Excerpt from the book of our colleague Fotini Tyraski «Φύση, Τέχνη και Υποσυνείδητα μηνύματα» – Part I, «Νάξιος» publications. The teaching of this project can be attended by our students in the homonymous first cycle of 9 courses in Greek, English and German (* the interpretation is provided after similar participations) which starts online in April!

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