The Discipline of Seeing

There is a discipline in seeing, just as there is a discipline in everything else that we do well, whether it is reading or writing or making something or listening to significant music, or even loving someone. A discipline of seeing does not come by being told how to see, though that might be helpful, even necessary; it comes primarily by seeing and seeing and seeing over and over again. In the realm of music we assume that it takes discipline and repeated hearing to find one’s way into the appreciation of a symphony. Such a discipline stands in marked contrast to the lure of a popular melody, which demands little of us. Frequently the same people appreciate both; yet in terms of stretching of our sensibilities, a symphony rates above a popular tune. With respect to the visual arts, people are not generally willing to grant a similar distinction, that is, between naïve and high art. –Dillenberger in Thiessen, Theological Aesthetics: A Reader, 238